‘We solved the problem with spare parts for agricultural machinery, but they went 50-100% up’

Tatarstan agriculturists found a substitute for disappeared imported equipment, though the alternative turned out to be expensive

Despite big difficulties with disappeared foreign equipment and spare parts, Tatarstan farmers managed to start spring field works on time. According to them, Chinese machines became an alternative to European tractors, and there was found solution even where German vehicles turned out to be irreplaceable. However, the solution to the problem is by half more expensive, even twice at times. Read in Realnoe Vremya’s report about how the republic’s agricultural workers found a way out.

“8 out of 13 tractors are Chinese”

Tatarstan agriculturists started spring field works earlier than usual this year. Sown areas and the land ploughed in autumn started to be harrowed in all the districts, whereas 26 of them are already planting spring crops.

However, this time agricultural enterprises are starting the season in new economic conditions. There arise difficulties with the supply of equipment and its spare parts due to the sanctions. If earlier heads of households used to buy tractors and sowing equipment from European countries, now their range of choice is very limited. Due to objective reasons, now agrarians are buying mainly Russian machines and equipment from friendly countries.

Also, together with Russian and Belarusian equipment, Chinese machinery is entering Tatarstan fields. Vozrozhdeniye company from Arsk has brought as few as five Chinese factors and one KAMAZ lorry this year. The equipment has been purchased in a leasing programme.

“We chose Chinese tractors. We think they are reliable enough. Also, their price is different from European tractors. We managed to solve the problem with spare parts, everything is equipped, though we cannot help but say that they went up in price — from did 50% and even 100%,” said head of the household Ilgizar Sadykov.

The household already started sowing. A total of 8,500 hectares of land will have to be sown with rye, barley, wheat, oat and pea. According to Sadykov, almost all the seeds are the enterprise’s own, only maize seeds are purchased, the deliver is expected these days. “We don’t work with foreign feedstock. We order maize in Krasnodar Krai, Stavropol Krai, Kuban. The most important thing that there be no draught,” he noted.

“There is no possibility of buying European machinery now. It is much more expensive, also, its delivery takes much time and there can be problems with spare parts in the future. 8 out of 13 tractors bought by agricultural enterprises in Arsk District in 2023 are from China. If earlier Chinese machinery was one of a kind, now its number is growing,” said head of the Agricultural Administration of Arsk District Lenar Abdullin.

“Nothing will replace German seeding machines”

Another household of Arsk District — Kyrlay — told us about buying Chinese equipment, it bought Hanno tractor. It is a relatively new brand of one of China’s leading industrial equipment manufacturers that started to enter the Russian market last year.

“The tractor is originally from China itself, not the one assembled from Chinese spare parts here. It is designed for potato seeding. This is the first Chinese tractor at our household,” said the agricultural firm’s engineer Ayzat Akhmetkhanov. “We bought it to test. We will see how it will show off in work. Of course, this tractor cannot replace European equipment but it is much cheaper. If the machinery is made in China itself, it is supposed to be reliable enough, like the concept of ‘Made in China’ in clothing production. Chinese equipment can do the same work as European, but it can cost several millions cheaper.”

As the chief engineer said, they managed to fully provide spare parts but this became possible only because they cared about this in advance, in autumn:

“We are starting sowing, a hundred per cent ready. Components and spare parts aren’t a problem. The price is the problem. A spare part turns out to be more expensive every time it arrives. Suppliers cite customs duties. We have to pay extra, there is no way.”

As director of the agricultural firm Ilndar Gaynutdinov said, despite supply difficulties, the household anyway opts for European seeders China simply doesn’t produce:

“I can say for sure that nothing will replace German seeders. We agree that they will be hard to maintain in the future but we prefer taking the risk. This year, the agricultural firm has purchased Amazone potato seeder at a plant in Samara. Such machinery continues to be produced from components suppliers from Germany. Also, we have bought a maize seeder we have been supplied directly from France.”

“Now the delivery term is extended into two months and longer”

If there is quite a lot of Chinese equipment in Arsk District now, no household in Sarmanovo District has decided to buy it. Nikolay Sakhuriyev, head of the district’s Agriculture and Food Administation, told us about it:

“Today all households of the district have started sowing barley, everything is fine with equipment. The delivery term of spare parts and components is the main problem. In the last few years, many households have switch to powerful tractors made abroad, particularly in Europe. All the system used to be tuned up. Now delivery terms increase or components are out of stock. Fortunately, this time all problems were solved. All households managed to prepare equipment without losses and start sowing. The households cared about spare parts in advance. If earlier a lacking part could be received in two weeks, now the delivery term is extended into two months and longer. Components for spring sowing have to be ordered in November.”

Sakhuriyev says that households of Sarmanovo District try to buy Russian machinery. No enterprise has brought foreign equipment this year:

“We know that now many are switching to Chinese machinery, but we are being cautious about it at the moment. We think the logistics hasn’t yet been set up, consequently, there can be the same problem with the delivery of spare parts. Nobody has ordered Chinese equipment here.”

“There is a bitter aftertaste”

Head of Tekhno-Snab’s subdivision in Tatarstan Garey Nutfullin who acknowledged that prefers not to deal with imported equipment told us about the distrust in foreign machinery:

“I don’t work with foreign brands. Also, there is no longer such big demand for them like before. To be honest, there is no desire to work with foreign equipment. I have already burnt my fingers. I brought a dumper truck from China last year, I told the client about one term but in the end I didn’t manage to stick to it. It was the end of the year, the equipment got stuck at the customs in December. It crossed the border only in 2023. So the delivery term increased and the recycling fee grew. We paid it ourselves, didn’t increase the price for the client. In a word, there is a bitter aftertaste. It is easier to use the spent time and resources on Russian equipment than deal with foreign machinery.”

Nutfullin said that several foreign brands — China, Turkey, France and the Czech Republic — remained in the company’s business portfolio. It is still impossible to order and get some equipment from these countries. Their spare parts can be supplied through the customs union, but it is longer and costlier.

“The only problem for us this year is that snow melted early. We didn’t expect it. We made a plan for equipment repair and assembly: we planned to assemble spike harrows in April and then switch to sowing machinery. While this year it turned out everybody needs everything right now because snow is gone, the fields are drying out and it is necessary to sow on time. We counted this would be some 10 days later. Now everybody has a crunch time,” the interlocutor of the newspaper noted.

Milyausha Kashafutdinova

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