Natalia Shagaida, Doctor of Economic Sciences and Head of the Gaidar Institute’s Agrarian Department, appeared on the air of the Sputnik radio-broadcast service delivering a comment on the concept of creating a national distributor of Russian agri-industrial complex products in Asia, the Middle East and Africa, which is being elaborated by the RF Ministry of Agriculture.
The RF Ministry of Agriculture wants to develop the concept of a national distributor of agri-industrial products, so that goods supplied by several producers could be pooled, thus optimizing logistics. Besides, by doing so, it will be possible for Russia to boost its exports and enter new markets. The concept targets the countries of Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.
Natalia Shagaida supports this idea and notes that Russian producers need a mechanism for advancing to foreign markets. This is particularly important for those who produce a small amount of goods and have no opportunities for independent sales abroad.
“There are goods that are produced by small business entities, but do not require any concept to be sold. For example, grain. About 35% of it is produced by farms and agricultural organizations belonging to the category of SMEs. However, grain is homogeneous, so the big exporters pooling this grain can do without any concept. And there are also producers of small-size goods, and these producers are also small and differ between themselves. And it is very difficult to move them to foreign markets. It is hard for the producers to overcome emerging obstacles, for example, to find information about a particular market in a particular country, and its specific requirements,” Natalia Shagaida explained.
The expert noted that multiple measures have been launched to promote SMEs with just a modest success, in particular regarding those products that need to be promoted. First of all, the concept targets a small producer who cannot create a large batch of goods and enter the export market.
“We do need good practices: an entrepreneur who, while developing his own business, could also develop the businesses of smaller producers, opening up for them opportunities to enter the foreign market. In my opinion, this is who really needs support. Such an entrepreneur will find his own ways to achieve sales, but the condition for getting government support could be that he should include in the sphere of his interests not only his own products, but also those of small producers,” the expert believes.
By way of summing up, Natalia Shagaida spoke of similar international experiences, where large exporters promote the products of their manufacturers. “They organize exhibitions, helping manufacturers to demonstrate the entire range of their products. Similar exhibitions are also held in Russia. But in my opinion, as I have personally participated in a project aimed at solving specific problems, one should try to go through the entire process, to understand from one’s own experience the essence of the existing problems, and then the government will help in solving them.”