Exports are one of the main ways of supporting further growth in the agricultural sector. When internal demand reaches its limit and the domestic market becomes saturated, further growth can be achieved through increasing sales on international markets. Since May last year, we have done a great deal to put together national and federal projects for agricultural exports. They have both been approved and must now be implemented in order to meet the President’s target of USD 45 billion-worth of exports by 2024 — Sergey Levin, Deputy Minister of Agriculture of the Russian Federation .
We need to make a new mass of commodities – not goods that we made to satisfy internal demand. Since international markets have different cultures in terms of what people consume and where the demand is, they need different products. And this applies to all product groups. To date, grains have been our biggest export. Of course, we will continue to increase shipments of grains to the global market, but focusing solely on one type of wheat will not enable us to reach the USD 45 billion target. Therefore, we must overhaul production and how we export. This forms the foundation of the work we are doing with the regions — Sergey Levin, Deputy Minister of Agriculture of the Russian Federation .
The main areas which must serve as a driver of export growth in Russia are the fat and oil sector, expanding the range of pulses, and significantly broadening production and sales of processed foods. This way, we will be able to maximize added value when selling our products. Today, we are one of the world’s leading exporters of agricultural products. However, we are undoubtedly lagging behind global leaders in terms of the cost per tonne of exported goods — Sergey Levin, Deputy Minister of Agriculture of the Russian Federation .
One of the problems is the general epizootic situation. There is the issue with the African swine fever virus and other quarantine diseases. In this instance, regionalization must be the correct procedure to take, so that when a disease is found somewhere in Khabarovsk, exports from, say, Kaliningrad, are not stopped. What happens at present is that the entire country usually gets affected. As a unique power stretching across a vast territory, we are justified in applying the principle of regionalization, whereby disease-free areas are identified and allowed to export. This will significantly lower the potential risks borne by exporters of livestock products and poultry, and will save public expenditure on compensation — Yevgeny Savchenko, Governor of Belgorod Region.
Karelia is faced with the task of expanding its sales markets for fish products, as our region is one of the leading producers in this area. As things stand, European countries are among the main partners we supply products to. However, we see major potential in Asia, and have begun working with China. There are also opportunities to work with the Arab world. We need to increase production volumes, which will mean setting up production of live caviar and fish feeds. That is why supporting and developing breeding centres are crucial for the immediate future — Artur Parfenchikov, Head of the Republic of Karelia.
We need to do seriously study the international destination markets for our products. That will also encompass the development of major lobbying capacity to prepare the market and drawing up a strategy enabling our producers to enter it, thereby minimizing losses in terms of growth rates and money. As well as logistics, we need to envisage in advance how to deal with customs procedures, settlements, and so on. <…> It must not be the case whereby each company must conquer a market alone — Elena Dybova, Vice President, Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation.
Today, we have around 42,000 companies exporting non-commodity goods in our database. And all of these come up against virtually the same problems, which primarily have to do with promoting their products in international markets. These problems are easiest to solve by working together at a federal level, so these kinds of programmes and national projects are essential — Vladimir Sitnov, Senior Vice President, Sberbank.
A great many companies have already developed and are continuing to develop export operations. Supervisory bodies need to facilitate this development, not hinder it — Vitaly Sheremet, A partner and Head of Agribusiness at KPMG in Russia and the CIS.
Regionalization is a key issue in Russian agrarian exports. It is only possible to become a strong exporter after first becoming a strong player in the national market. Our regional development will only be possible if we put together a balanced, overarching export development programme, while not losing sight of the diverse nature of our country and differentiating between approaches. <…> Someone needs to protect Russian exporters in international markets. It is crucial to have an external support network, for exporters to build trans-shipment capacity, and for other essential infrastructure to be in place in destination countries. Measures also need to be in place to support the external support network — Aleksandr Shenderyuk-Zhidkov, Director, Sodruzhestvo .
The product itself, as well as selection, control, preservation, and presentation are key aspects of exports. In Italy, when we considered launching export operations, we began primarily by examining product champions, and initially concentrated on what we could do best of all, both in terms of quantity and quality. The regions determine for themselves what they do well, and the state controls all the parameters, deciding upon the real value of a strong product when it comes to promoting it for export — Pier Paolo Celeste, Director of Moscow Office, Italian Trade Agency.
[We must] work to reduce the cost of producing meat in Russia in order to increase the competitiveness of our products in Western markets. This should partly be done by increasing cultivation of soy and soybean meal to ensure a fodder base. We need to hasten our transition from importing soy to producing it, particularly as it is currently rather profitable to cultivate it, especially the GM-free varieties which are in demand in destination markets — Sergey Mikhailov, Chief Executive Officer, Chairman of the Management Board, Cherkizovo Group.
Countries have brands, and so do companies. These brands have a direct bearing on the economy, including the export sector, which is always very closely associated with brands. In international markets, brands shape how consumers view a country’s image — Mikhail Maslov, General Director, Ketchum Maslov.
By deepening cooperation between national and regional governments, and multi-national corporations and local businesses in Russia (which largely act as suppliers in our case), we will achieve a clear breakthrough in boosting export potential — Valery Schapov, President, Mars Russia.