Import substitution will inevitably affect such a seemingly flourishing industry in Russia as agriculture. Arkady Zlochevsky, head of the Grain Union, spoke about this at a press conference at the Rossiya Segodnya International News Agency seed fund. This is how long hybrid varieties “live”, in contrast to varietal wheat or rye, which can bear fruit for decades, but its yield is much lower.
Thus, already next year, the shortage of high-quality seed material can lead to a drop in productivity in the country by one and a half to two times, and one should not dream of any records, Zlochevsky is sure:
“There are many statements on the topic that we are expecting record harvests. But is that so? That's the big question".
The lag is already noticeable today in both winter and spring sowing, and the reason for this is by no means the weather, as the Ministry of Agriculture claims, but "the lack of money and technical unavailability".
However, in the near future there will be no very big problems with the seed, since it has already been purchased for this year, although it is twice as expensive as before. But precisely because of the high cost, purchases were limited, and therefore the risks of import dependence - rising prices and shortages - will increase next year.
Yes, farmers will still be able to sow their seeds, but such a practice in the case of a hybrid fund will work for four to five years, during which a decrease in yields and a return to much lower natural yields are inevitable. If hybrid rye seeds yield seven and a half tons per hectare, then varietal seeds - only four tons, and then in a good season. At the same time, Russian breeders do not have hybrid varieties in their arsenals, since they have focused all their work on variety renewal. And the fault lies in the inadequacy of the regulatory regime, Zlochevsky is sure: “The new law only added inadequacy, for example, the requirement to issue genetic passports is long and expensive”.
To overcome the crisis in seed production, it is necessary to change the regulatory regime, and there are still competent personnel in this area. The head of the RGU proposed to relieve the burden of supplying new varieties to the market by changing the rules of supervision and making the inclusion of seeds in the state register of breeding achievements voluntary, and not mandatory, as it is today.
“We are the only country in the world that oversees the quality of seeds (not safety), although this is a market category and it is impossible to influence it ...”, the expert concluded.