About ten years ago I visited the Korenovsky district of the Krasnodar Territory, where I got acquainted with the work of the former regional consumer cooperation, which was privatized by its head, becoming an owner, moreover, an effective owner. He developed a unique project for the production and marketing of vegetables. All their cultivation was concentrated in personal subsidiary plots (LPH), and the parent enterprise was assigned the role of organizer of the process, lender and distributor of products.
The company supplied ready-made greenhouses to the owners of private farmsteads, installed them, and provided seedlings. All this at the expense of the future harvest, which was then taken away at a price that suits both parties. After selling vegetables in large cities of the country, the company covered all its costs for greenhouses and seeds and received a decent fat, and the people had a good income. The entire Korenovsky district was built up with greenhouses, thousands of people got jobs and additional income. Then I thought: it’s just brilliant and effective!
Why shouldn’t big business adopt this system, which attracts broad masses to cooperate with it? This is the same social mission that Russian business, alas, does not like to take on.
And now, for the fourth year, something similar now exists in the Stavropol Territory.
The Stavropol Gardens enterprise has been operating in the region for 15 years, which produces planting material using modern technologies. Today it is the largest nursery farm in Russia, producing 2.3 million seedlings of fruit crops each year on an area of more than 200 hectares.
Four years ago, together with scientists from the Michurin Federal Scientific Center “Gardens of Stavropol”, we developed a unique project in our country for growing super-intensive gardens in personal subsidiary plots on an area of ten acres. The authorities of the Stavropol Territory supported this project through a grant system. Owners of private household plots who wish to become participants in the program and meet its requirements receive 400 thousand rubles. If within five years they do not leave the program, and do not violate the rules, the subsidy becomes free of charge.
Such gardens have already been laid in 600 farmsteads on an area of 60 hectares. At first, the program included several regions of the region, but now it has been decided to extend it throughout the territory until 2023.
This year, 200 private households will take part in it, which will plant gardens on an area of 20 hectares. It is planned that according to the results of the experiment, by 2024 the Stavropol Territory will additionally receive 6 thousand tons of fruits.
This is what it looks like in real life. One of the program participants is Alexander Molodtsov, a resident of the Tavrichesky settlement of the Turkmen Municipal District. He has 54 hectares of shared land, has a tractor, even a combine. But the droughts that have plagued the area in recent years have dramatically reduced family income. So Alexander began to look for opportunities to diversify his small business. He has a personal plot of 30 acres, water supply. Therefore, he decided to try his luck with the Turnkey Gardens project.
– I wrote an application to our regional Ministry of Agriculture, and after a while I was summoned to the regional ministry, – says Alexander, – I was surprised, the speed of the issue, the bureaucracy is a minimum.
Molodtsov opened a special account, into which he deposited 21 thousand rubles. This is the minimum so-called personal money insurance premium that the program participant must pay. Soon, 400 thousand grants were received at his expense. The budding gardener sent them to the “Gardens of Stavropol”.
Soon, the company’s specialists arrived in Tavrichesky, who, having examined the site, said that it was quite suitable for an apple orchard. If the site was assessed with a higher number of points, a cherry orchard could also be laid out on it. And if the conditions were worse, then – plum. In most of the Stavropol Territory, the soil and climatic conditions are suitable for apple orchards, therefore they are the most popular in this program.
480 apple seedlings were brought to Molodtsov’s site. These are proven imported varieties, but grown on the territory of the Mineralovodsky region. They are zoned for the conditions of the Stavropol Territory. Together with the seedlings, they delivered concrete trellis posts, wire, a water barrel and a drip irrigation system. For regions where frequent hail attacks occur, an anti-hail net is also provided.
Alexander himself only made a concrete platform for the barrel, and dug a hole to dig in the seedlings while they were waiting in the wings. Explaining the plan of the nearest actions to the novice gardener, the experts left, obliging Molodtsov to keep a diary and recommending to register on the social network in a group of novice gardeners like him. Here people exchange experience, ask for advice from comrades and from the company’s specialists who are assigned to the group. According to Alexander, this is a very successful and effective form of communication.
The garden was laid in October last year. He had some work to do. It is to huddle the seedlings up to the grafted bud and whitewash with a special paint. In March, Stavropol Gardens specialists again visited the novice gardener. We did tree pruning while training the client. In subsequent years, Molodtsov will do this work himself.
If difficulties arise, he can always ask for advice over the phone. Such support is provided for five years. Well, and then the clients go on a free voyage.
I asked Alexander if he had any unforeseen problems?
– Have arisen. At the beginning of this winter, hares began to visit our garden. It’s good that we noticed this in time. We had to urgently fence ourselves off. These are, of course, additional costs. But if we did not go to them, we could completely lose the seedlings. Such a misfortune happened to one of the project participants in our area. Now he will have to either return the grant or buy new seedlings at his own expense.
And in the Alexandrovsky municipal district, far more serious enemies appeared near the gardens than the sidelong robbers. These are deer. There are so many of them in the neighboring reserve that they are no longer content with their traditional food, but raid the gardens. You can’t do with a simple netting, you have to build more serious fences.
But the main problems lie ahead. This is sales. “Gardens of Stavropol” assure that they will not leave their customers and will buy future crops, as they say, in the bud. This year will be indicative, as the first of the laid out gardens will give the first harvest in the fall. According to the specialists’ plans, in the first year the orchards will be able to produce up to two tons of apples. And in subsequent years, the harvest can be up to 8-9 tons.
Observers believe that Stavropol Gardens has developed an ingenious program that ensures the sale of its main product – seedlings at the expense of state funds. The most profitable part of the gardening business so far is the sale of planting material. It is she who gives the gardeners most of the profit and often covers the losses from fruit production.
Let’s hope that this business is socially responsible, and the good deed started will receive a worthy continuation: the population of the region will receive additional high-quality and healthy products, and hundreds of rural families will receive a worthy additional income.