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EkoNiva Group awards best specialists in Kursk oblast

Press-centre / News,

The employees of Zashchitnoye, EkoNiva's plant breeding and seed growing subdivision based in Kursk oblast, were presented with regional and district awards. The best local specialists were honoured as part of the meeting devoted to summing up the farming year.

Various prizes were given to the employees of Zashchitnoye-North and Zashchitnoye-South operations. Machine operators Vladimir Alpatov and Sergey Titov were awarded letters of appreciation from the Russian Ministry of Agriculture and its regional department respectively.

Anna Polevaya, Assistant Regional Director, Tatyana Ryazantseva, an HR officer, Yevgeniy Khodosov, a driver, and Nikolay Kuznetsov, a machine operator, received certificates of merit from the head of Shchigry district. In Solntsevo district, similar awards went to Andrey Leontyev, Deputy Chief Agronomist, Sergey Shilin, Chief Technician, and Gennadiy Cherkashin, a loader operator.

Yuriy Vasyukov, Regional Director of EkoNiva Group for Kursk oblast, won a third-class medal for the services to Kursk oblast. The top award was given to the enterprise for its great contribution to the development of the region’s farming sector. Operating for over 20 years, Zashchitnoye started with 2,000 hectares of land. Now, the land bank has grown almost 20 times to reach about 40,000 hectares. The main areas of activity are plant breeding, seed maintenance, production of basic seeds and growing of seeds of cereals and pulses.

‘We are pleased that our work has received recognition at the regional level. Zashchitnoye has always been the driver of success for the plant breeding and seed growing industry in Kursk oblast – other farms look up to us. In our activities, we use the latest achievements in the field of crop farming, cutting-edge agricultural machinery and the world’s best genetics. Our top priority is to increase production volumes while enhancing quality. Every year, we raise the bar in terms of technical equipment and crop yields and always strive to offer our partners new, interesting and profitable solutions’, says Yuriy Vasyukov, Regional Director of EkoNiva Group for Kursk oblast.

The year 2023 has been a productive one for EkoNiva-Kursk. Two in-house bred varieties – winter wheats EN Voin and EN Persey – have been entered into the State Register of Plant Breeding Achievements, and the cultivation area of EN Argenta soya bean has been expanded to new regions. Overall, the company's portfolio now includes ten varieties of its own breeding – seven winter wheats and three soya beans. The project of the plant breeding and seed growing centre in Shchigry district is still underway.

‘One of the new businesses of the enterprise is breeder seed production – we have harvested over 700 tonnes of them this year. In 2024, the blueprint will be to make it to 1,200 tonnes, and with time, we plan to reach an annual capacity of 3,000 tonnes. Therefore, three seed growing lines have been built exclusively for breeder seeds. This work has been carried out across all 13 crops and 60 varieties which are in the enterprise’s commercial production’, continues Yuriy Vasyukov.

A significant breakthrough made this year is the relaunch of Belsakhar sugar plant in Belaya district. It processes over 2,000 tonnes of raw material from EkoNiva’s own fields to produce 300 tonnes of refined sugar per day. The finished product is sold wholesale in 50-kg packages in the Russian market. The by-products – beet pulp and molasses – are used for the company's livestock needs. Belsakhar employs about 300 people in the season, which has not yet been closed.

Another priority area is the cultivation of export crops. In 2023, Kursk subdivision of the Group supplied more than 6,000 tonnes of lentils to Asian countries.

‘We are now initiating a new stage in the development of EkoNiva’s seed growing business. It involves the adoption of a modular production system for certified seeds. By 2030, we are set to reach a capacity of one million tonnes’, shares Yuriy Vasyukov.

According to Zashchitnoye’s management, the key to success in any business is well-coordinated teamwork. The staff is put at the top of the list and is provided with decent salaries, work clothes, meals and corporate transport.