Alla Elizarova, Director of Rosspetsmash Association: “AGROSALON exhibition will be held in its usual format"
We’ve decided to ask the organizers of the exhibition how the preparation is going on and whether alternative scenarios are considered (i.e. online format). Alla Elizarova, director of the Rosspetsmash Association, answered the questions of the editors. The expert has also commented on the development of domestic mechanical engineering in recent years.
The International Specialized Exhibition of Agricultural Machinery AGROSALON is the central branch exhibition displaying the latest technical solutions in the agro-industrial complex. It is held every two years. In 2020, the exhibition will be held from 6 to 9 October within the International Exhibition Center Crocus Expo in Moscow.
- AGROSALON exhibition is scheduled for October this year. Without a doubt, this is one of the main agricultural events of the year. However, due to the general instability in the world because of the pandemic, many exhibitions are postponed or cancelled: i.e. EuroTier exhibition in Germany has already been postponed to 2021. Do you consider alternative scenarios for AGROSALON, and in general please, tell us about preparations for the exhibition.
- For now, we do not consider alternative scenarios for the exhibition. We are sure that AGROSALON will be held in the format which is common to all its participants and visitors. Let me remind you that by the decree of the Mayor of Moscow Sergei Sobyanin, a number of restrictions applied due to the high-alert mode have been lifted. From August 1st, most organizations in the capital will resume working, provided that all the necessary sanitary and epidemiological requirements are met. It is important that these changes will also affect the Moscow region, where the Crocus Expo IEC is actually located and AGROSALON is held. It will be possible to hold congress and exhibition events in the region. These official documents make it possible to confirm that AGROSALON will be held from 6 to 9 October at Crocus Expo IEC in the usual format. The organizers, for their part, will provide all the necessary measures of sanitary and epidemiological safety.
As for the preparations for the exhibition, the management office has been working remotely during the self-isolation regime and after the restrictions has been lifted, specialists were in constant contact with the participating factories and those wishing to visit the exhibition. The preparation has been going on in a routine mode. Therefore, AGROSALON will traditionally present the latest trends in agricultural machinery.
We invite farmers to take an active part in the exhibition, to get acquainted in detail with a wide range of the most modern equipment. The visits of delegations from different parts of the country are being organized for as many agricultural producers as possible to be able to visit AGROSALON. The organizers take care of the transfer of farmers groups (buses are provided) from the regions to Moscow and back. Every effort is being made to make visiting of the exhibition as comfortable as possible.
- This year the AGROSALON exhibition is held for the 8th time. In your opinion, are there any changes to the event in terms of quality?
- The exhibition has been growing year on year: the area of the exposition, the number of participating companies and visitors has been increasing. This year, due to restrictive measures, it is not unlikely that some foreign manufacturers will not be able to present their stands at AGROSALON. We are talking only about those companies that do not have representative offices and partners in Russia. Otherwise, the exhibition will not undergo significant changes.
The Management Office is actively receiving applications for participation in the innovation competition, the factories are going to unveil the widest range of the state-of-art solutions in machnery and equipment at their stands. New items will be presented, including the long-awaited premieres. A business program awaits the participants.
- In order to somehow compensate for the impossibility of personal contact with clients, the event sector is trying now to actively use online technologies in its work. What online solutions could be applicable within AGROSALON? Is online shift really necessary?
- Over the years of its existence AGROSALON has become a full-fledged professional platform in the field of agricultural machinery. Both producers and consumers of agricultural machinery do not miss the opportunity for constructive and direct dialogue, for which our exhibition provides opportunities.
Considering that the previous AGROSALON was held 2 years ago, and since March of this year not a single industry exhibition event has been organized in the conventional format, agricultural machine builders and agrarians are especially looking forward to the opportunity to meet each other. Video conferencing is a communication channel that allows to communicate during restrictions, but it will not replace meetings and negotiations in person, it will not allow to see agricultural machinery with their own eyes — that’s what they visit the exhibitions for.
Online communication is well suited to promptly discuss industry development issues, for one-on-one conversation. We can consider the further use of videoconferencing capabilities for meetings and round tables, but live interaction is another thing. Only such a discussion can provide answers to many questions. It is impossible to fully conduct an exhibition online. Therefore, video conferencing should be considered as an additional opportunity in organizing congress and exhibition events.
- Exhibitions today are one of the most important tools for presenting products abroad. We can see that in recent years the export of agricultural machinery from Russia has been growing thanks to the active work of our machine builders. What methods of promoting products in the absence of exhibitions could they use?
- Indeed, in recent years, with government support, Russian factories have actively presented their products abroad at major international exhibitions. The format of collective expositions and pavilions is gaining more and more popularity, which makes it possible to fully present a wide range of modern, innovative models under the brand of not only companies, but also under “Made in Russia” brand.
Over the past 5 years, the export of domestic agricultural machinery has more than tripled to 12.2 billion rubles in 2019. Participation in international forums has played an important role in this process. For the sake of exports development under the conditions of closed borders and a ban on holding exhibitions, one has to use the format of online communication: search for dealers, partners, consumers of their products. Of course, the effectiveness of the promotion thereat is significantly reduced.
There are also traditional channels, like online advertising, but even if your ad has aroused interest, a potential client, as a rule, wants to move on to live communication with a further prospect of seeing the machinery in action.
- Speaking in general about the situation on the agricultural machinery market in Russia, according to the latest data, the production of agricultural machinery has not decreased, there is even some minor growth. Nevertheless, all sectors of the economy have experienced the consequences of quarantine measures in one way or another. For agricultural machinery, they are insignificant, or are there still problematic issues that now need to be addressed?
- Domestic agricultural machinery manufacturing has been showing positive dynamics every year over the past 6 years. This year, despite the spread of the coronavirus, production and sales continue to grow.
According to the Rosspetsmash Association, Russian factories have produced agricultural machinery for a total of 72 billion rubles in 6 months of 2020, which is 20% more than in the same period last year. At the same time, shipments of agricultural machinery to the Russian domestic market grew even more significantly: by 39% to 60 billion rubles. An increase in the production of Russian agricultural machinery is observed in many key segments: combine harvesters, tractors, sprayers, self-propelled mowers, balers, sowers and other items.
Domestic enterprises constantly implement an increased focus on improving product quality and release new models. Russian machines are perfectly adapted to work in various climatic conditions, which are often extreme. In addition, Russian technology is highly cost-effective.
Of course, it is necessary to note the comprehensive state support from the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Russia. Program No. 1432 and preferential leasing allow farmers to purchase agricultural machinery on preferential terms. Thus, effective demand is stimulated. Indeed, often the agricultural business can afford to renew the machine and tractor fleet only on condition of subsidies.
The high level of localization of production allowed Russian factories not to stop the production of machinery during the period of border closure and the suspension of operations of enterprises abroad. At the same time, foreign companies reported drop in sales, because they turned out to be dependent on imported components.
So far, we predict that the level of production of domestic agricultural machinery this year should not be lower than the previous year.
- We all see that over the past 5 years, domestic agricultural machinery has achieved a quantum leap. But there is always room to grow. In your opinion, what other gaps, growth opportunities are there in the industry? What is there to put more effort into?
– The factories are in constant dialogue with consumers of agricultural machinery; therefore, they annually expand the range of their products. Today it is necessary to develop competencies to produce tractors of small and medium power, equipment for viticulture and horticulture, beet and potato harvesters, critical components.
At the same time, the main point of growth is worldwide export development. Russian factories directly depend on the effective demand of farmers within the country. Therefore, in the event of a crisis, foreign markets must compensate for the decline in sales in Russia. If the demand in the domestic market grows along with export supplies, then domestic factories will only be happy to satisfy it in full.
Russian manufacturers improve their products every year, increasing their competitiveness. More and more “smart” agricultural machinery appears on our fields, which allows farmers to save money in the process of agricultural production. The introduction of innovations goes hand in hand with the modernization of production capacities. New models are being produced, including under the R&D subsidy program. Competition for the consumer is getting tougher every year, so those who do not pay sufficient attention to development will lose the market. Considering that Russian factories have more than doubled their share in the domestic market since 2013, now occupying more than half, they show no sign of letting up.