Bringing clean vegetables to Russian supermarkets
We visited the farm of Duong Hai An, Chairman of the Vietnamese Association in Volgograd city on a late autumn day in 2019. At that time, the weather had started to turn cold and was no longer suitable for growing vegetables outdoors. But when we arrived at the farm, we still witnessed plots of lush green corn and beds of tomatoes laden with fruit. The vegetable growing area boastedtrusses of fresh cucumbers, squash, beans, cabbage and water morning glory.
An said: “I saw that the land of Russia is fertile and large and the agricultural sector is supported by the Russian Government, so I decided to participate in agricultural production. The investment in agriculture is also to prove that in addition to trading activities, Vietnamese people are also involved in commodity production, contributing to the local economy andwinning more affection from the government."
According to him, the demand for fruit and vegetables in Russia is very large. The Russian government is also encouraging investment in agriculture with a number of incentives regarding land tax, refunds for investing in large projects and annual compensation for losses from the costof seeds.
An’s company, Volga-Viet, purchased more than 200ha of land to build a farm which is about a two hours’ drive from the city centre. In addition to the outdoor farming area, An also built farming houses covered by nylon to extend the planting time after winter comes. All of the farming areas are installed with modern irrigation systems.
The farm also has a breeding area with hundreds of sheep and goats to provide meat for supermarkets. Meanwhile, the pig raising area, with dozens of pigs, mainly meets the needs of Vietnamese people. The barn is full of pumpkins and barrels of newly harvested tomatoes.
An's farm currently has about 30 workers, including Vietnamese and Central Asian workers. All farming jobs,including sowing, tillage, irrigation, and harvest, are supportedby many modern machines.
An has also built dormitories and dining rooms to serve the needs of his workers. Ansaid that contracts have been signed to supply products from his farmto four major supermarket chains in Volgograd and the surrounding areas. The company has gained a reputation for the quality of its produce, An noted.
Wheat field of a man from Vietnam’s Thai Binh province
Tran Ngoc Tuan, Chairman of the Vietnamese Association in Ufa, has also invested in agriculture like An, but he focuses on planting wheat and raising livestock. Ufa is the capital city of the Republic of Bashkortostan, one of the Russia's most developed economic regions, in both agriculture and industry. Tuan drove us to visit his farm in Blagovarskiy, over 100 km from Ufa. He told us about the difficulties and hardshipsof participating in agricultural production, as well as his achievements and future plans.
Tuan brings a visitor to his wheat farm
Tuan said that he is a native of Thai Binh province and went to Russia to start a business. Although he has achieved success in building a trade centre and a plastic factory, the "blood of a farmer" has driven him to invest in agricultural production, an area facing many difficulties. Four years ago, with the support of local authorities, Tuan decided to invest in building a farm with an area of over 700hato plant wheat, produce cattle feed, and raise cows, horses, and goats.
Following Tuan's footsteps, we witnessed immense fields of wheat. Hundreds of hectares of wheat with grainy spikes ready for harvest. In the next meadow, hundreds of cows and horses were grazing leisurely. The farm also raises other types of livestock and poultry such as sheep, pigs, and chickens. In the vegetable growing area, Tuan has built greenhouses with a heating system to allow cultivationduring the winter.
Both Duong Hai An and Tran Ngoc Tuan expressed their willingness to share their experiences and act as a bridge for enterprises in Vietnam as well as in Russia to invest in agriculture. Although large investments in agricultural production likethose of An and Tuan are very rare, they open up a new business direction for the Vietnamese community in Russia. In addition, these agricultural projects also help create a good image of the Vietnamese in the eyes of the local people and government, thus enhancing the position of the Vietnamese community in Russia.