Queen of the fields: why Russia'ss largest agricultural holdings invest in soybeans

"There are no matches for it in the world anymore," as Russia's Vladimir Putin praised the soybeans about a year ago. After that, there was a decision to increase the soybean harvest in 2020 by three time. RBC finds out who invests into the new agricultural fetish.
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"Best soybeans in the world"

In May 2014 in Blagoveshchensk arrived honored guests: President Vladimir Putin on the way from Shanghai decided to hold a meeting on flood relief in the Amur region and Primorye Territory. The meeting touched on the issue of agriculture in the Far East, as the overflowing of the Amur washed away more than half of the soybean crop - the main agricultural culture of the region.

Expert on soy head of "Rosneft" was unexpectedly Igor Sechin, the newspaper "Kommersant": on the sidelines of the meeting, he argued interlocutors, among which was also then-head of the Ministry of Agriculture Nikolai Fyodorov, the profitability of soybean production is about 40% and that soy should be the new queen of the fields.

The idea was supported by Vladimir Putin. "Russian soy - soy best in the world -" Kommersant quoted the president of Russia. " - It is natural. This is no longer left in the world. "

In June 2014 the Ministry of Agriculture approved the prepared soy Russian Union (RCC) branch program "Development of production and processingsoybean in the Russian Federation for 2015-2020 years, "the ministry told RBC. Under this program, it planned to implement 923 investment projects for which government funding will be allocated through the largest state banks - Sberbank, VTB, Rosselkhozbank and VEB - in the amount of 195 billion rubles.

According to the PCC, for the last five years, soybean production in Russia has increased by six times (see. Chart). But the country is still not self-sufficient in soy: in 2014, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, gathered 2.6 million tons, and imported 2.03 million tons (valued at $ 1.15 billion, according to the Federal Customs Service). Soybeans were mainly from Brazil and Uruguay. By 2020, the soybean harvest, according to the program, is expected to grow to 7.2 million tons.

Interest shown by the State in soy is associated with import substitution and ensuring the food security of Russia, emphasized in the explanatory note to the branch program. Now 95% of soybeans grown in Russia goes for animal feed and 5% is used in the food industry for the production of soy milk, tofu (bean curd), okara (used in the manufacture of vegetativerianskih soy burgers).

"It is envisaged <...> an increase in the production of soy milk and meat products, ensuring the production of import-substituting foods: soy isolates, soy concentrates, production of food composites, dietary supplements, fitonutritsevtikov soy protein," - said in a memorandum. One reason for this reorientation - price: cost of animal protein is 50 times higher than soy.

"Livestock is developing very rapidly, it has caused a significant increase in consumption and production of animal feed", - adds CEO "Solar Products" (also the beginning of a large-scale soy project) Oleg Podgorny. According to Rosstat, the production of meat and offal of slaughtered animals increased in January-September 2015 compared to the same period of 2014 by 14.2%, to 1.6 million tons.

Soya in the world and in Russia

According to the American Agency of Agriculture (USDA), the world's soybean cultivation under given 118.13 million hectares of farmland. Almost a third of the crops (33.42 million hectares) located in the United States -It is the world's largest producer of soybeans. Slightly smaller area (32.1 million hectares) sows soy Brazil. Russia ranks 8th in the world by land area on which soy is grown - 1.91 million ha (1.6% of the global area). At the same time Russia's share accounts for only 0.82% of world production - 2.6 million from 318.68 million tons.

At AIC to develop a meeting at the end of September 2015 the Minister of Agriculture Alexander Tkachev complained that Russia still imports a significant amount of soy and "spend big money" on it. "America keeps the whole world in one place", - said the minister, calling soybeans "strategic culture, without which there is no animal." He noted that Russia has scope for development in this direction.

"We could not believe it"

Until recently, the largest Russian agro-holdings are not engaged in the cultivation of soybeans, the main players were local companies - Far more often. In the market of processed soybeans out of the competition was the company "Commonwealth" Alexander and Natalya Lutsenko, established in Kaliningrad complex carried outKolka factories for the production of soybean products. For example, in the agricultural season 2014-2015, "Commonwealth" has processed more than 2.2 million tons of soybeans, said "Agroinvestor" in the July Group CEO Sergei Sokolovsky. Own production of soy at the "Commonwealth" has never been a company buys domestic and imported raw materials.

In the past two years to a promising culture noticed the largest Russian agro-holdings - "Rusagro" United Grain Company "Yug Rusi", "Solar Products", "Efko". At the end of 2014 "Rusagro" Vadim Moshkovich bought in Primorye 26.5 thousand. Hectares of land under cultivation of soybeans and corn, as well as 13.75% maslozhirkombinat "Maritime soy" in Ussuriysk. General Director of "Rusagro" Maxim Basov, commenting, "Vedomosti" the company's interest in the production of soy, called the situation "a revolution in crop": "In the south, it happens for several years, and now has reached and Central Russia. In "Rusagro" longer planted soybeans than sugar beet. Tell us about this MULTIof years ago, we would not believe. "

In September 2015, the first "South of Russia" Sergey Kislov has announced an investment of 12 billion rubles. in the construction of a complex for deep processing of soybean and oilseeds in the Far East with a capacity of 3 thousand. tons of products per day. The partners of "Yug Rusi" in the project began to Vnesheconombank and China CAMC Engineering Corporation. Time of putting into operation the first stage of the enterprise - in 2019.

Plans to grow soybeans in the Far East also have the United Grain Company (UGC), the state agent during purchasing and commodity interventions on the grain market (controls elevators and grain shipping terminal near the port). Crop UGC, 50% minus one share owned by a group of "Sum" Ziyavudin Magomedov, never alone does not hold. The project will start in two years. Grow soybean UGC going in the first place in the Amur region, Primorsky and Khabarovsk Territories, the total area of ​​land for crops will be about 100 thousand. Ha. The amount of own crop according to plan will be about 200 thousand. Tons a year, msgsal "Kommersant" with reference to acting UGC director general Alain Igumnov. Investment for the project in the UGC did not disclose, executive director of "Sovecon" analytical center Andrei Sizov evaluates them about 3.5-6 billion rubles.

The former queen of the fields

The history of soybean production with state reminiscent of the story of corn, which is the leader, Nikita Khrushchev, the Soviet Union in the late 1950's proclaimed "queen of fields".

During his visit to the United States in 1959, Khrushchev met with US experience in growing high-yielding corn in Iowa and urged his compatriots to learn from the best practices of Americans. Crops of corn in the Soviet Union began to grow rapidly: in 1956 in the USSR corn grown on 18 million hectares, by 1962 mu area increased more than doubled, to 37 million hectares. Corn sowing until the Vologda region, although this culture is thermophilic and gives a large harvest in the north. Corn and actively used as a raw material for food production - in those years in the Soviet Union there were cereals, corn flakes, corn bread and corn pudding even. about cornin the USSR composed songs and movies were filmed.

However, by 1964 at least 60% of the corn planted in 1960-1962, died, and yields fell sharply. After coming to power Leonid Brezhnev in 1966, corn was almost completely ousted from the arable land of the country - even in those areas where it has always been successfully grown. Now, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, the area of ​​land where corn is grown, is just over 2.5 million hectares.

The whole country is on the beans

Agro "Agribusiness", unlike its competitors, its soybean project develops across the country - in the Belgorod, Kursk and Bryansk regions, where the main livestock enterprise groups. So, out of 130 thousand. Hectares of agricultural land use in 2015, "Agribusiness" gave a soybean 35,6 thous. Ha. Harvest this year amounted to 78.05 ths. Tons of beans, the company said it is entirely for the production of feed for their own use.

Group "Efko", one of the largest producers of oil and fat products, in 2006 announced plans to begin processing of soybean oil extraction on their ownMr. plant in Alekseyevka Belgorod region, but until 2012, the company worked mainly with sunflower. New refining capacity to 660 thousand. Tons of soybeans a year were introduced only in 2014, the investments, according to the group amounted to 4 billion rubles. The main products - soybean meal for sale to farmers and soybean oil for its production.

The company "Sun Products" (included in the group of "Basket" Vladislav Burov, until 2009 the co-owner was the first deputy head of presidential administration of Russia Vyacheslav Volodin) began to invest in the production and processing of soybean in late 2013, when it acquired 38 thousand. Hectares of land in Saratov region in vodka "Synergy" holding company, has decided to get rid of non-core areas of agriculture. The deal, according to the "Synergy", amounted to 600 million rubles.

On the ground, holding vodka cultivated sunflower, but the "Sun Products" decided to bet on soybeans. Selecting atypical for the production of the Volga region soybean Podgorny explains the closeness of their own creameries and livestock enterpriseprises of the European part of the country: "The regions, which account for about 80% of consumption of feed, much removed from the soybean production regions: 60% of soy production is concentrated in the east of the country." This year, the company received its first own soybean crop from an area of ​​5.5 thousand. Ha, and expects to co-finance the project from the state. Investing only in the reclamation project of 200 thousand. Ha (soybean loves moisture) in 2014 was estimated at 48 billion rubles.

The general director of the Institute for Agricultural Market Studies (IKAR) Dmitry Rylko sure that soybean production in Russia will increase, but not as rapidly as described in the state program: "There are serious constraints that will hinder the development of this culture in Russia. The first is natural and climatic peculiarities: in some regions of the country is too dry for soybean, in others - too cold particular skepticism is UGC project in Primorye.. "Rusagro" will also have easy - growing crops in the Far East has its own specifics. "

Executive Director of the Analytical Centerand "Sovecon" Andrey Sizov agree that "one should not expect any significant increase in the production simply because so want the officials and some industry associations." Nevertheless, the production of soy - a very profitable business, which is interesting for many companies, confirms the expert. Sizov not name the average profitability of soybean cultivation, but estimated the figure at "several tens of percent."