A Third Kind of Clusters Will Appear in Russia, Agro-industrial Ones
Cluster policy tools are being considered for application in the agricultural sector. E.g. an agro-industrial cluster is currently being set up in the Yaroslavl Region, to bring together agricultural producers, individual farmers, technological infrastructure objects, and research and educational organisations. Mechanisms for providing public support to agricultural clusters were discussed at the Yaroslavl regional government a meeting on 21 March, with participation of the HSE ISSEK experts Mikhail Goland and Vasily Abashkin.
As you may remember, the Russian Ministry of Economic Development has been supporting innovation territorial clusters since 2012. In 2015 the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade launched a registry of industrial clusters. Setting up agro-industrial clusters was suggested as innovation promotion measure in the scope of the S&T Foresight Study for the Agricultural Sector 2030, conducted by the Russian Ministry of Agriculture jointly with HSE and approved in January, 2017.
The first agro-industrial cluster will be established in the Yaroslavl Region, to specialise in potato industry. On 21 March the Yaroslavl regional government held a meeting on the subject, chaired by Valery Kholodov, deputy prime minister of the region. HSE was represented by Mikhail Goland, director of the HSE ISSEK Centre for Relations with Government Agencies, Development Institutions and Companies, and Vasily Abashkin, leading expert at the HSE ISSEK Russian Cluster Observatory. Various issues of setting up the agro-industrial cluster comprising agricultural producers, individual farmers, educational and infrastructural organisations located in the Yaroslavl Region were discussed.
After the meeting the participants met representatives of the regional agricultural sector. Mikhail Goland spoke about public support available to agro-industrial clusters. “Cluster policy is a new tool for providing public financial support to the agricultural sector. The Ministry of Economic Development and the Ministry of Industry and Trade provide subsidies to support innovative and industrial clusters. The potato cluster my receive about 200 million roubles. Several Russian regions have already secured such subsidies, and demonstrated positive cluster development results”, noted Mikhail Goland.
The expert stressed that the industrial clusters register maintained by the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade already includes two agro-industrial clusters. Their participants can apply for reimbursement of some of their joint project costs out of federal subsidies. Another channel for supporting agricultural clusters will be opened by the Russian Ministry of Agriculture. E.g. according to the action plan on developing S&T policy for the agricultural sector, by the end of 2017 the Ministry is expected to come up with a programme of setting up and supporting agro-industrial territorial clusters.
By Vasily Abashkin