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Main | Archive | Issue 2/2008

Vologda Looking for Business Partners
Column: Under The Sign Of Mercury

The Vologda Oblast (region) is in a dry area, which creates added problems for the farmers there. Nevertheless, the region is ranked fourth in Russia in the efficiency of its farms. The last few years, things have improved owing to the implementation of the priority national project Development of the Agricultural Production Sector (APK) and provincial programs aimed at supporting farmers. The region is doing a lot to promote the sale of local products on domestic and foreign markets as well as attract business partners and investors. The Vologda Oblasts participation in the Green Week agricultural and food exhibition that is traditionally held in Berlin in January is part of this policy.

In 2008, Russia took part in the exhibition for the 15th time. Nearly three dozen regions of Russia had collective displays at it. The Vologda Oblast was taking part in Green Week for the eighth time and was one of the biggest exhibitors in the Russian section. The mere fact that Vologda displayed its products next to the exhibits of the Krasnodar Krai (territory), the Rostov Oblast and other traditional Russian grain growing areas pointed to the increased capabilities of the region. Some 15 enterprises virtually showed the entire potential of the local food industry-from dairy, meat, liquor and confectionery products to mushrooms, berries and the products resulting from their processing.. Linen fabrics were also part of the regions display.

The Russian peasants house (the Vologda exhibit cleverly had such a setting) caught the attention of the participants in the exhibition and the visitors alike. But an exotic backdrop cannot substitute for the quality of what is displayed or the exhibition as a whole. Indeed, during Green Week there is both the exhibition at which the world accomplishments of the agrarian-industrial sector can be seen and the East-West business forum. Green Week reveals which kind of products may make it possible for the exhibitor countries to become equal trade partners.

It is certainly prestigious to put ones products out for the exhibitors from 56 countries and more than 400 thousand visitors to judge. It is no less important, however, to show what businesses there are and the export possibilities of regional enterprises and advanced scientific technologies. And where else could one demonstrate so well the quality and environmental friendliness of the top-quality Vologda products made with local raw materials and using traditional methods? And finally, the exhibition is an excellent opportunity to explore the foreign food market, find new business partners and show ones investment potential.

During Green Week 2008, the regions delegation had a number of business meetings with prospective Russian and foreign partners. That was also one of the results of the exhibition, for the Vologda authorities consider the show to be one of the factors of cooperation with the Federal Republic of Germany. A fairly wide range of issues were discussed, since Germany is seen as a strategically important partner of the Vologda Oblast in various spheres of the economy. Moreover, it is third among the regions trade partners.

Looking at integration ties established between the goods manufacturers of the Vologda Oblast and Germany in the agro-industrial sector, one finds that the spectrum of these ties is fairly wide. German partners supply grain harvesting, fodder-processing and other farming machinery as well as equipment for meat and poultry processing plants. The regions stockbreeders buy pedigree cattle in Germany, while processing plants purchase ingredients for their food products.

Germany is one of the world leaders in manufacturing meat processing equipment. The participation of the German companies Schulte and Fessman in the technical re-equipment of the Vologda and Cherepovets meat processing plants is an example of the close and mutually beneficial cooperation. A project to modernize the poultry plants of OOO Vologda Poultry Breeding Center is in progress. The German counterparts helped put the new egg sorting equipment of the Malechkino Poultry Plant into operation. Under an accord between the Union of the federal states of Thuringia and Saxony, breeding cattle were bought for the agricultural enterprises of the Gryazovets district.

Plenty more such examples could be given. Traditions of dairy farming in the Vologda Oblast are deep and strong. Cooperation with foreign partners helps to further develop the potential of the industry. Take, for instance, the dairy farms of several districts of the region located in the raw materials zone of OAO Sukhon Dairy Combined Plants.. The plants top executives held negotiations with their German counterparts on supplying equipment for the dairy farms that will make it possible to considerably improve the quality of milk being processed.

Russian Agriculture Minister Alexey Gordeyev dubbed the Vologda Oblast Russias dairy capital. That imposes a deep obligation. And the Vologda farmers are trying hard to warrant this assessment by their intense and imaginative work.


-, 2006