Left to right: Tatyana Pugacheva, Teymur Gadjiev and Svetlana Abuladze.
"The group was established in 2011 and is owned by Boris Gorkunov. The production is made up of cucumbers (80%), lettuce (12%) and tomatoes (8%). We sell around 21 thousand tons of cucumbers a year as well as 1,300 tons of tomatoes and 5 million lettuce plants."
Left, Boris Gorkunov, entrepreneur and ex-vice governor for the Sakhalin province.
The company took part in the 2016 edition of Macfruit to look for machinery, equipment and technology. "We have a good degree of automation, but we do not wish to automatise everything. In Russia, labour does not cost much, around 500 dollars a month, so it is not worth investing hundreds of thousands of dollars in equipment."
Most of the technology was purchased in the Netherlands, just as genetics for production. Starting from a Dutch seed, the company's nursery garden grows plants to be transplanted. The greenhouse structure has also been supplied by the Netherlands, while the double insulated glass has been made in Russia. The irrigation and fertigation systems are Dutch, while the lighting system is Russian. The packaging machine has instead been supplied by the Italian Gruppo Fabbri.
Plants in the greenhouse structure in Yaroslavl.
Greenhouses are heated 9 months a year with natural gas, which is very cheap in this area. The lighting system is essential, as Siberia only has a few hours of sunlight a day during winter.
But how much does one hectare of greenhouses cost you?
Greenhouses in Novosibirsk
Yields and sales
The Russian entrepreneurs would like to stress that yields are quite high thanks to soil-less cultivation. "Around 120 kg per square metre for cucumbers, 91 kg per square metre for tomatoes. Most operations are carried out by hand, even those that would be automated in the Netherlands. Our entire production is destined to the domestic market. The furthest destinations are 5 days away," reports Teymur Gadjiev.
Packaged products: cucumbers and tomatoes.
To cover all costs, the average annual price of cucumbers (and tomatoes) must be of at least 60 eurocents per kg.
To our comment that Italian producers often are not able to obtain good enough prices, the Russians respond that weekly auctions with the largest retailers are carried out in their country. Producers only accept the contracts if they are satisfied with the price. Alternatively, there are the wholesale markets. So far though, they have never had any problems selling produce at a respectable price.
Cucumbers in greenhouses.
Our interlocutors only say that, since the sanctions were put in place, the Government set up an agricultural development plan, granting loans at a very low interest rate. It is also thanks to this that the company can think about doubling the hectares in just a few years.
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