Today a rare consumer is surprised to see the prefix "eco" on the purchase of food, clothing and even household chemicals. Trends focused on naturalness, care for the environment and people's health are dictating new rules for business, for example, reminding of the importance of environmentally friendly elimination of toxic emissions from enterprises, but at the same time they are opening new niches as well. In recent years, organic farming - growing organic produce in environmentally friendly places - has been gaining popularity in Russia. Experts in the industry told Made in Russia about how to start a business in this area and where to find profitable land for this purpose.
"In today's realities, the idea of farming has changed a lot. Previously, to engage in farming you had to buy machinery worth several million, hire a bunch of people to work the land and hope for a good harvest, so that you could recoup all costs and start making a profit. By the way, we had to wait several years for such a farm to pay off. Times are changing, and approaches to doing business are also changing. It is no longer necessary to have the necessary fleet of machinery and agronomic education. There are specialized companies, which can help in the selection of land and teach you how to develop your own acres," - told the editorial.
Before you start farming, it is important to choose the right land. As experts note, it is important to understand that farming cannot be implemented on six or even ten acres, because otherwise it will be just a vegetable garden. "For a full-fledged farm, you need at least a hectare, and even better - three or four. There are quite a lot of companies in Russia that sell land plots for farming, but it is better to choose the one that will still help you develop, rather than leave you alone with kilometers of uncultivated area," experts recommend.
Thus, the head of one of these companies - "Amega" - Andrey Mikhailov says that today you can buy land for little money. By choosing the right plot suitable for farming, developing the concept, determining the most profitable crops for growing, the project can be paid off quickly and provide yourself with a stable income.
ECO-TOURISM BY THE STEPS
What to do after buying land? According to experts, in the first year, after its processing, the construction of the necessary communications and buildings, you can begin to develop the hectares, for example, to sow them in meadow grass, which then can be sold. This way in the first year the land can already start generating income.
"Next year you can go on growing herbs or you can go further and start growing vegetables or berries, maybe even breed goats and rabbits. In that case you will be interesting not only for yourself, but also for other people, because your farm will start attracting tourists, and this, in its turn, will create a need for creating an eco-hotel on your land. Raising animals you can get additional income - for example, goats can not only be milked and then produce cheese or sell milk, goat down can be sold to knitters knit scarves. And if you also combine animal husbandry and cultivation of fruit and vegetables, so you can after a couple of years you can become a millionaire, "- say the project interlocutors.
Now about the pitfalls and their removal on the way to the cherished goal: a huge undeveloped area must be developed, and it is not easy. Entrepreneur Sergey Mitrofanov shared his story in this difficult matter.
"I have been engaged in trade for many years, but a couple of years ago I came to the understanding that I wanted to produce something with my own hands. The idea came up to create my own agriculture. At first I thought that one could buy a couple of hectares for business only in the far-off outback, somewhere in the Orenburg steppes. But it turned out that large land plots were for sale in Yaroslavl, Vladimir, Kaluga, Tver and even Moscow oblasts. Of course, there was plenty to choose from," the entrepreneur said.
But he decided to go with Yaroslavl region, especially considering that it is a part of Golden Ring of Russia, as in the future it will be possible to attract tourists.
"I tried to do everything myself at first, having spent a lot of time and money. But then I used the services of the company which sold me the land. They have all necessary equipment and for quite acceptable price they tidied up my not so small land. I decided not to be a hero, and now we've worked out a plan for developing my land and analyzed what kind of support I can get from the state," Mitrofanov said.
The businessman expects to be in the black next year. "This is very motivating. I already have a lot of ideas along the way. I don't need to tell you that I have never once regretted that I decided to become a farmer. An organic farmer. Because my products will be of the highest quality," he added.
WHERE THE MOST PROFITABLE LANDS ARE
Experts in the industry point out that one such village where the land is suitable for building houses suitable for eco-tourism is Sovino, located at the 87th kilometer of Novorizhskoe highway. There is already a cooperative of farmers and houses are being built, and soon it is planned to build eco-hotels and other infrastructure for tourism. By the way, this is one of the few settlements for farming activities, where you can buy a small plot of land within 0.5 hectares.
Another interesting project is Dubrava in Kaluga region. About 300 hectares out of 800 hectares in the settlement have already been implemented - there is creating infrastructure for glamping, eco-hotels, botanical park and even phyto-hotel - a hotel offering herbal treatment.
"You can be sure that you will not be sold "raw" plots, all of them have been examined and do not contain pollutants and other harmful substances. There is also a development programme for all the villages and priority crops are identified for cultivation. So, you will not have to flip through biology textbooks for a list of the most useful and fragrant herbs," they say.
The cost of land plots depends on two factors - location and the level of development of the project. The most affordable plots are in the Vladimir region, where the cost per hectare starts at 50 thousand rubles. This is also where the Dolina Ozera village is located - it is unique in that it is situated on the river, which immediately increases the future income from ecotourism projects. The land on the water is more expensive, though - 200-250 thousand rubles per hectare. For a small price you can buy a plot of land in Kaluga and Tula regions. For example, in the aforementioned "Dubrava" the price per hectare starts at 100 thousand rubles.
Of course, one of the most expensive areas is the Moscow region: here, the price per hectare starts from 300 thousand rubles. But the highest price is for land in the Krasnodar region, where a start-up business has to pay from 1.5 million rubles per hectare. Experts explain these prices by the limited land plots available for purchase and the climate that is favourable for farming. Such areas would be suitable for the creation of vineyards, cultivation of essential herbs, and phyto-tourism, among other things.
WHAT BENEFITS CAN BE OBTAINED
A budding entrepreneur can receive significant support from the government.
The most popular support is in the form of grants. For example, one farm can get grant support from 250 thousand to 4 million rubles, depending on the sphere of activity.
"This has its own nuances. For instance, the maximum grant amount for a sole farmer is 3 million rubles but if he joins together with other owners of adjoining land plots the amount of the grant goes up to 4 million rubles. The thing is that the government is actively supporting cooperatives of farmers - the additional 1 million for the grant may help develop the infrastructure, buy equipment, landscape the area, that is to create a place of attraction for tourists and increase their income at times. And get yourself a whole village of like-minded people", say Made in Russia interlocutors.
Acquiring land for agribusiness can be a profitable investment, reckons Andrei Mikhailov, the head of Amega.
"Small businesses are often more profitable to buy or lease a land plot that has already been prepared and equipped, even at a higher price. This will allow him to start doing business on the land plot immediately and save time on construction. Accordingly, an investor who buys a land plot and turns it into a ready-made business will be able to sell it for 2-3 times more in the future," he believes.
Today, when many people are thinking about or have already turned to healthy lifestyles, it is the best time to invest in eco-projects related to farming. In addition, the whole world, and Russia is no exception, is getting involved in projects that do not harm the environment. Therefore, such projects are in fact strategically important and investors can receive serious state support, experts conclude.
Made in Russia // Made in Russia
Author: Karina Kamalova