Krasnodar, 1 April. Our today’s interviewee is Fedor Dereka, Minister of Agriculture and Processing Industry of Krasnodar krai.
Q.: What is the current situation with winter crops?
A.: Most of the young crops do not give cause to any concern. What does is the wintering of rapeseed plants – 5,300 hectares are in bad state, and the plants died in the area of 3,800 hectares – mostly due to last year’s weather conditions, when this culture had been sown during a heavy drought.
Q.: How will the sowing areas change in 2021?
A.: Our farms have scheduled to increase the sowing areas of the following cultures: fodder peas (by 13,000 hectares), sugar beets (by 20,000 hectares), soya (by 15,000 hectares), and winter rapeseed (it has already been sown; by 17,000 hectares). These are export-oriented cultures for the Krasnodar region.
Q.: When will the rice sowing campaign begin?
A.: Owing to the precipitation, the Krasnodar Water Reservoir has collected the standard volume of water, which is about 1.8 billion cubic metres. Later on, in case of sufficient precipitation it will be enough to provide water resources to 120,000 hectares of rice fields (for comparison, I can remind that in 2020 the total acreage of rice was 126,600 hectares). That way we are planning to retain its output at about 70% of the national average figure. The rice sowing campaign will begin in early May.
Q.: What are the forecasts for exports?
A.: The plan for this year is USD 2.7 billion; by 2024, the figure is to reach USD 3.8 billion. Speaking of exports on the whole, I must admit that regretfully a lion’s share of it currently falls on raw products. Therefore we must learn to export finished products with a high added value. Kuban is one of the few Russian regions that export high-quality grain crops. What is at issue is wheat of grades 3 and 4 with a protein content of 12% and more. Speaking of the structure of exports, 65% fall on grain crops, 20% - fat and oil products, and 15% - finished products.
Q.: Earlier, a high share of imported seeds used to be called one of the main problems of the national agricultural complex. Has the situation changed over the past three years?
A.: The situation has cardinally changed over the past ten years. Now seeds of domestic selection are used for about 100% of winter and spring grain crops (wheat, barley and triticale). In 2020, the share of domestically selected maize seeds was 33%, that of sunflower – 28%, and soya – 88%. We have to continue to increase the use of locally selected seeds of such cultures as sunflower, maize and sugar beets for commercial farming.
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