Growth Points in the Agro-industrial Sector: Doubling Export Volumes, Deepening Processing, Smart Specialisation and Packaging
In the next seven years, Russian farmers should reach export volumes twice as high as current figures. Opportunities and directions for the advanced development of regional exports of agricultural products were discussed by the participants in the panel discussion held on October 12 in the framework of the business programme of the ХХ Russian Agro-industrial exhibition 'Golden Autumn'. Alexander Chulok, Director of the Centre for Science and Technology Foresight of ISSEK, acted as moderator of the event organised by the Ministry of Agriculture of Russia jointly with the ISSEK HSE.
The increase in export volumes will be one of the main KPIs of execution of Presidential Decree No. 204 dated May 7, 2018, regarding the development of the country's agro-industrial complex, said Dmitry Krasnov, director of the Information Policy and Special Projects Department of the Ministry of Agriculture of Russia. Now exports amount to 21.6 billion dollars, the goal is to increase it to 45 billion dollars. 'For the successful implementation of the export strategy, it is necessary to qualitatively change the structure of our exports, to produce products with high added value, which is possible only by increasing the depth of processing,' said Dmitry.
Natalia Karlova, Head of the Branch and Regional Research Section of the Research and Forecasting Department of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, spoke about the approaches and mechanisms that exist in diversifying sales markets and producing products of deep processing of grain.
The head of the Cluster Policy Unit and the head of the HSE ISSEK Russian Cluster Observatory Evgeniy Kutsenko made a presentation on smart specialisation in the regions in the context of the development of the agro-industrial complex. 'Who chooses now what will export the region and what specialisation will it have?', Evgeniy addressed the audience. Investors who are thinking about such projects are often in a situation of uncertainty: very often the success of a new business depends on the environment — suppliers of raw materials, equipment, and scientific counselling. Therefore, it is important to coordinate the investment business plans, plans and measures to support different authorities. Moreover, according to a wide range of tasks: infrastructure, personnel, science, support for small and medium-sized businesses. Confusion creates an inefficient use of public funds, erroneous signals for private investors, the science and education sector.
In the EU, this problem was solved using the 'smart specialisation' methodology: regional export priorities are selected based on the competences of the region, EU priorities and target markets. At the same time, there are uniform rules for the selection, verification and synchronisation of regional priorities, coordination in the process of mutual evaluation procedures, etc. 'Russia can learn from this experience in the field of agriculture,' the expert stressed.
'Regions Should Act as Innovation Reactors'
The session moderator, Alexander Chulok, director of the Centre for Science and Technology Foresight of ISSEK, outlined the possibilities of Big Data analytics in terms of choosing priorities and preventing threats that could affect the development of the agro-industrial complex. Agricultural producers should pay attention to the achievements not only in their field but also others, in particular in the energy sector, it is important to see the entire production chain, to study global trends.
Alexander called a number of promising markets attracting a large number of start-ups today, whose growth indicators help to more accurately determine the intelligent Big Data analysis system iFORA developed at ISSEK. So, $ 30 billion will be the volume of the world market of urbanized farms in 2030. Russia's share in it can be up to 2.5%, the venture landscape of this market is already formed by more than 25 startups that have received significant funding. Russia can occupy its niche in the market of functional nutrition, Alexander believes. Its volume in 2016 was $ 220 billion, and by 2030, according to forecasts, will grow to $ 380 billion. 'A technological breakthrough is needed,' Alexander motivated the audience to rely on the 'global breakthrough' scenario described in the forecast of scientific and technological development of the agroindustrial complex (another scenario is called 'local growth'). — Will it is scattered or on all fronts — it’s an open question.'
Roman Kulikov, Director of the Centre for Technological Transfer of the National Research University Higher School of Economics, Director of Acceleration of projects in the field of agro-industrial biotechnologies of the Skolkovo Foundation, spoke about some tools to support exports (for example, food bonds), international cooperation in the field of agriculture on investor cases from Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and promising technological solutions, including at the junction with other industries, opening up new opportunities for farmers. Roman illustrated this set of tasks on the example of one project of the Sibur company, where the technological process of deep processing of raw materials for petrochemistry is combined with the processing of biomass to create polymers. Roman considers marketing and analytics a bottleneck in the development of the export potential of the Russian agro-industrial complex, as well as weak entrepreneurial activity.
Ekaterina Izhmulkina, Vice-Rector for Research and Innovation of the Kemerovo State Agricultural Institute and Executive Secretary of the Agro-Industrial Cluster of the Kemerovo Region, spoke about the cooperation of this cluster with Asian countries, particularly China, South Korea, and Vietnam. Medicinal herbs and sweets are in great demand — honey, jam. Cluster organisations pay great attention to improving the packaging of goods: 'This is very important in the Asian market,' Ekaterina noted, — 'especially in South Korea.'