Grain quality is one of the target criteria, influencing competitive ability of the product on both domestic and foreign markets. During recent time, grain quality causes large number of various scandals and investigations, highlight declarations of experts, which discredit Russian wheat, and also signing of intergovernmental contracts in the sphere of plant quarantine during grain exports.
Vitaliy Smirnov, the head of the department of agricultural products of the company INSPECTORATE R, told our APK-Inform about the situation with the quality of Russian grains in the current year, and the prospects of the harvest-2010.
- Vitaliy, the harvesting campaign in Russia has almost been completed. How could you estimate qualitative parameters of the harvested grains in the season compared to the previous years?
- In the year, grain harvest quality became higher compared to the indices of three previous years. Of course, not all oblasts of Russia faced favorable weather conditions, and we heard about problems in the Krasnodar Krai, Rostov, Samara and Orenburg oblasts before the beginning of the harvesting campaign.. But despite all natural disasters, we managed to complete the harvesting campaign, which became lower compared to the previous year, but still rather high, and which showed better qualitative indices.
- Do you share the opinion of several experts concerning the reduction of grain quality in Russia in recent years (especially the index of gluten and protein content) ?
- Last year, when I answered the same question, I marked that the tendency indeed occurred, but results of the grain harvest analysis of the current year in the majority of grain producing regions of Russia witness about completely reverse trends. I suppose that our agricultural producers started providing more attention to establishment of new agricultural technologies and realization of the corresponding measures for struggling with varmint and illnesses at fields.
- What do agricultural producers have to do, in order to receive more harvest volumes of milling grains compared to feed grains? What factors influence on qualitative parameters of the harvested grains?
- In the current year, corn bug became one of the most important problems, causing the reduction of wheat quality. During recent three years, I presented my reports at various conferences, where I described the influence of damages by corn bug on various parameters of wheat quality. In the current year, we see the essential decrease of the average grain volumes (in many regions), damaged by corn-bug, at the expense of opportunely realized measures for struggling the plant pests.
- According to the official data, in the first half of 2009, specialists of the Federal state department of "Center of grain quality estimation" detected over 3 mln tonnes of products, which did not meet the requirements of standardized documents of grain quality and security. What is your opinion concerning controlling of the situation with grain quality in Russia and what measures should be taken in order to change the situation?
- Of course, the government should deal with controlling of grain security, circulating on the market of grains, and the Federal state department of "Center of grain quality estimation" realizes the function at the highest level.
Analyzing the report of the Federal state department of "Center of grain quality estimation", we noticed that almost all three mln tonnes of grains, which "did not meet the requirements of standardized documents", are the cargo lots with living incests. It is not a secret that fumigation is one of the strong requirements in almost all export contracts.
According to my opinion, agrarians also should take measures for increasing of grain quality during the process of the harvest growing.
- What do you think about the recent scandal with supplies of Russian wheat to Egypt, and what is your appertain to the initiative of Egyptian party concerning checking of import grains quality directly in the ports of shipment?
- As far as I know, Egypt did not have any serious claims to the real quality of grains, loaded to the seized ships. Of course, when Egyptians established new requirements, our exporters started providing grain underworking at elevators before departure to the ports. The initiative of grain quality controlling in the ports of shipment is not the new tendency (in the current year, representatives of the Ministries of Agriculture of Jordan and Syria came to Russia to realize controlling inspections in the ports), but we still did not receive the complete description of all mechanisms of such audit.
Every year, the world market of grains will provide the growing number of requirements to the quality of Russian wheat due to the increasing competition. But Russian grains show high quality competitive ability in own market segment, and can satisfy all possible requirements.
- In the summer 2009, Ukraine established the new standard of wheat, which clearly delimited the possibility of separate stocking of milling wheat and low-quality wheat. Do you know about any such plans in Russia in the nearest future?
- I have extremely negative attitude to the new Ukrainian standard. Of course, the standard can become very progressive in the case of future production of feed grains only, but the standard should be update in the sphere of milling grains.
Of course, Russia needs new government standard, because to date, the old standard does not correspond to all requirements to the grain quality and dividing in milling or feed groups. But to date, the government still did not reviewed the project.
- Vitaliy, could you characterize the variety of activity of your company in the sphere of agricultural products inspection?
Our company operates on Russian market of inspection services during nearly 15 years. The central direction of activity of CJSC INSPECTORATE R is elimination of risks of client through providing of the independent inspections and laboratory tests. INSPECTORATE R comes to the group of companies INSPECTORATE, which is one of the leading surveyors companies, and owns the world network of offices and laboratories in over 130 countries. The powerful laboratory base agricultural products of INSPECTORATE R allows providing analyze of grains, oilseeds and vegetable oils at almost all international standards. During the conference "Grain of Russia-2009", we reported concerning the following themes: quality of Russian wheat of the harvest-2009, analysis of changes of the structure of contract and tender specifications; correlation of qualitative parameters at the international standards with the results of analysis of qualitative parameters at the governmental standards (GOST).
Interviewed Roman Zinkov