Experts believe that there is no need to expect a shortage of potatoes in Russia in Russia. Experts interviewed by Lenta.ru assessed this probability and denied the main concerns, coming to the conclusion that a shortage of one of the main vegetables in the country should not be expected.
Lupekhin believes that two main factors can lead to a deficit: a reduction in cultivation on personal subsidiary plots and an increased demand from processing enterprises, which have recently increased their capacity. According to the Union of Potato and Vegetable Market Participants, a million tons of potatoes will be sent for processing this year, and about 1.5 million next year. By 2026, this volume may reach three million tons.
According to Lupekhin, the future deficit of potatoes will have to be replaced by imports. This year it also increased – from last year's 316.3 thousand tons to 548.9 thousand tons as of November 21.
Former Deputy Minister of Agriculture Leonid Kholod in a conversation with “Lenta.ru” noted that he does not see a real threat of a shortage of potatoes in Russia. “To be honest, I can't quite understand here what the Union of Potato and Vegetable Market Participants is based on. The fact is that now is the beginning of December, and, in fact, all the agricultural procedures that eventually end with the potato harvest have not even begun, – said Kholod. – This year's harvest was smaller in the organized sector, in large farms, and decreased in personal subsidiary plots as a result of various unfavorable climatic conditions: somewhere it was hot, somewhere it was wet, somewhere it was not hot and not wet, but cold. In principle, the harvest was smaller, but it was not catastrophically low. ”
According to him, the resulting shortage may well be leveled by imports, mainly from Belarus and other neighboring countries. There is also an option with purchases in Egypt. “They [Egyptian potatoes] may not be of the best quality, but they had some value in the balance. Therefore, talking about some kind of deficit is somehow strange. There is no catastrophic fall in the harvest, “the specialist says.
Therefore, I do not see any reasons for a catastrophic shortage. In addition, in a market economy, it is very difficult to achieve a deficit – it simply means an increase in prices. The prices are already quite high. And they, quite obviously, according to all the laws of the market, will continue to grow as long as there is inflation, and will grow faster than the general inflation rate
Leonid Kholod, former Deputy Minister of Agriculture
At the same time, Kholod considers the reasoning about the increased demand from processing enterprises to be reasonable and have the right to exist. However, this state of affairs, according to him, is explained by the usual development of the market: “And this is nothing more and nothing less than a good incentive for the development of potato production.”
“I understand that there has been a twofold increase in the consumption of potatoes by industrial processing, but, firstly, this means that some of the potatoes enter the market in processed form, and in the usual table version they are no longer in demand, because potato products appear … Secondly, it means that potato production must develop. Other branches of agriculture, for example, grain growing, are developing according to the same laws, “the former deputy minister notes.
All at once
Dmitry Leonov, deputy head of the Rusprodsoyuz Association of Food Producers and Suppliers, admits problems with potato seeds and sees this as a threat to the future harvest, but clarifies that high-tech enterprises that independently produce seeds do not experience such difficulties. “To solve them, an integrated approach is needed, aimed not so much at increasing production volumes as at improving the quality of production and storage of high-quality domestic products. Russian potatoes should not be inferior to imported ones in terms of quality indicators, ”says Leonov.
“To put it simply, we need comprehensive support to ensure the production of a product with a quality not lower than imported, including aimed at modernizing seed production, production and storage, and not just per hectare,” he adds.
Former deputy head of the Ministry of Agriculture Leonid Kholod is confident that the department will be able to cope with the risks of deficit, even if they do arise. “But I believe that the most active measure here may be the development of the infrastructure of the potato market. After all, it does not consist only of large enterprises: there are a lot of producers, including personal subsidiary farms, which today are non-commodity or low-commodity, small producers, farms. Many of them produce potatoes, but can hardly get them to market. There is a problem with this, “says the source of Lenta.ru, noting that most of the potatoes in Russia are grown by small farms.
In response to an inquiry from Lenta.ru, the press service of the Ministry of Agriculture replied that there are no prerequisites for a deficit next year. “According to the information provided by the regional governing bodies of the agro-industrial complex, in 2022 it is planned to increase the area of potato planting in the organized sector by 20 thousand hectares. In combination with agrotechnical measures aimed at increasing the yield of potatoes, this creates good preconditions for increasing production volumes, “the report says.
In addition, the department is developing a specialized federal project that should increase production volumes and improve infrastructure in the potato market. Five billion rubles will be allocated for the accelerated development of vegetable growing next year. According to the ministry's plans, this will increase the harvest in the organized sector by 15 percent.
Over the past few weeks, various specialized associations have warned Russians about a possible shortage of certain goods. Among them are medicines for flu, colds and coronavirus, consumer electronics, beer and other alcoholic beverages.