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The number of summer residents and small farms has decreased in Russia – Rossiyskaya Gazeta

There are fewer farm rabbits or odorous tomatoes from the garden in Russia. Summer residents, personal subsidiary plots and farms are leaving the market, and large agricultural holdings are becoming even larger. The result of such monopolization is the risk of a decrease in product quality and price dictates. Such conclusions can be drawn from the preliminary results of the 2021 micro-agricultural census.

So, according to Rosstat, since 2016 (when the last All-Russian agricultural census was carried out) the number of large agricultural enterprises increased from 7.6 thousand to 9.6 thousand units. And the number of small agricultural enterprises decreased from 24.3 thousand to 20.9 thousand units. Farms and individual entrepreneurs decreased by 51.6 thousand units (instead of 174.8 thousand, it became 123.2 thousand). Non-profit partnerships lost 3.7 thousand units – from 75.9 to 72.2 thousand units.

Agricultural producers are consolidating in all countries, but not so quickly. And the less competition, the greater the risk of price dictates. Especially when markets are closed from competitive products, Natalya Shagaida, director of the Center for Agri-Food Policy of the RANEPA, warns. True, from the results of the agricultural census it is not clear how much land is concentrated in the hands of agricultural holdings. If the census recorded financial indicators (including the distribution of state support), the reason for the enlargement of farms would be clear, the expert said.

Farmers go to personal subsidiary plots (PSPs) in order not to report on products, reduce the tax burden and avoid numerous inspections. And private household plots are becoming smaller due to the decline in the rural population, and primarily the older generation, which is used to keeping the farm, says Vladimir Plotnikov, President of the Association of Peasant (Farming) Farms and Agricultural Cooperatives of Russia (AKKOR).

This can lead to a reduction in jobs, agricultural production and a decrease in the quality of products, because large agricultural holdings will not have to compete with high-quality farm tomatoes or meat, the expert said. It is necessary to redistribute state support from large agricultural holdings towards small farms, says Plotnikov. Now the priority is in favor of large companies. And if they try to cut support for them, agricultural holdings threaten with price increases. For example, the other day, three meat associations appealed to the Minister of Agriculture Dmitry Patrushev with a proposal not to reduce the subsidizing interest rates on preferential loans already issued.

Young people are now beginning to take an interest in the cultivation of organic products. But there are too many difficulties in this matter, says Andrei Tumanov, chairman of the public organization Gardeners of Russia. “A new generation of gardeners, trained by the Internet and unable to distinguish outright delusion from really practical advice, is fighting plant diseases with iodine and feeding them with yeast and soda.

But the main thing is the gaps in the legislation. For example, in SNT (garden non-profit partnership), all issues are resolved exclusively at the expense of gardeners. “In any SNT, dozens of internal conflicts are smoldering, which have not been resolved for years in law enforcement agencies and courts. At the same time, 90% of conflicts can be easily resolved by trained mediator lawyers,” Tumanov said indignantly. As a result, even in the Moscow region there are partnerships where up to 50% of plots are abandoned. And this aggravates the situation, because the remaining summer residents have to pay more in the end, the expert says.

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