It is necessary that business, state and science work together
Andriy Getia, the head of animal department of Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine shared his thoughts how to arrange the dialogue. In fact, when pig producers and the state, finally, «will become friends», the branch will win the jackpot.
— Andriy Anatolievich, how did the fate bring you to the pig industry?
— I’m from Poltava region — the heart of Ukrainian pigbreeding. At least, once upon a time it was like this. Historically, the Poltava bacon was sold in London house, and in 1930 the Pigbreeding Institute was established there. At that period of time, this region was famous by its native Ukrainian breed — Myrgorodska. In course of time the situation changed and places of commercial pigbreeding moved into other regions. But recently, Poltava region has started restoring its swine breeding status: Russian investment project Belgrankorm-Poltavshchina LLC now works at full capacity, German investors of ‘HAKA.UA. Pig complexes Poltava’ have also activated. Such investing activity is very important especially taking into account the possible joining to the free trade zone.
— What exactly should be the conditions and preparations for the free trade zone, in order everything goes well?
— Every investor wants the law to work well. So that you don’t need to run around and get acquainted with any head of any level, even from Ministry: you just write a letter and receive the answer, lodge a request and get the feedback. This is the ideal variant. But it does not exist anywhere in the world. Another thing is that the degree of meandering differs in different countries. And here we have a lot of work to do. And also, foreign investors cannot understand many of our standards. Especially building ones. Though they are renovated, they cannot keep up with the innovations working abroad. While we test foreign approaches, observing all necessary procedures, they invent something new. But trying to catch up with them in a way we are doing now is a dead-end road.
— Qualification level of modern graduates is one of the topical issuess for agrarian market. How do you think, what should be the high-priority changes in education development?
— There are a lot of grievances against the graduates. But I even don’t expect that any graduate, of any educational institution, after taking a diploma will be ready to dip into the production problems. That’s why it’s a disputable question. What about modernization, our universities and colleges try to do it, but in their own way. So, what is the eye of the problem? In general, the theoretical knowledge of our graduates is rather good. Maybe, not all of them know about some technological novelties that have entered Ukrainian market in last two-three years, but it’s not too critical. The biggest problem of our students is a little practice. But, I would not blame only universities in it. The thing is in students’ and their wish of taking knowledge. But, take a note, our graduates work on our units. They study some courses abroad, but their basic knowledge has been put in Ukraine. Therefore, in principle, I believe that all is not so bad.
— Nowadays nobody argues that pig industry is an intelligence consuming branch, that’s why, every high-developed swine breeding country has scientific research centres, speeding up its progress. But this is a problem for us. What are the possible solutions?
— I have visited many countries where I have been studying this question and continue doing it. Yes, our science is lagging behind, but it’s rather difficult to blame anybody. Our scientists do not go anywhere, and read the long-year translation articles, because they don’t know foreign languages. How do you think, are these articles up to date in two or three years? That’s why it is really amazing that our science hasn’t disappeared yet. If our scientists had a good financing, they would do no less, then their foreign colleagues. Science should be constantly invested to stay a head taller of those, who apply to it. I’m sure that the science should be financed from different sources. Some professional associations can join to this affair. Although here we also have some difficulties.
— Traditionally you’re asked to estimate the situation in the industry. What was this year like for pig producers, what we can call pluses, minuses, the biggest breakthroughs or maybe disappointments?
— We can really speak about some definite results. This year was successful for pig production. The situation won’t change in last months, even if the purchasing prices for live weight lower. The investment activating is a plus. It gives reasons for being optimistic about next year. But, taking into account the possible joining to free-trade zone, it’s hard to speak about price horizons. What about negatives? This is definitely the export reducing. But, the production increasing and export reducing show the domestic consumption growth. But in the existing conditions, I won’t take this fact as a positive one. If we want to have a modern branch, we should be exporters. That’s why our department has been working on this question.
— Andriy Anatolievich, how do you think, why Ukrainians, who are famous for their love to pigmeat and lard, haven’t yet entered the top-twenty biggest pig producers?
— If seriously speaking, that lard loving of Ukrainians does not correspond to the latest world market tendencies where the leanest carcass is the best. On the other hand, lard is the niche market, which is not developed in Ukraine. It is necessary that business, state and science work together. We shouldn’t lose our traditional lard breeds which we have. Because, nowadays, many foreign selective programmes are looking for ways to ‘bring back’ the intramuscular meat to pigs.
— Specialists predict that in five-ten years Ukrainian pigmeat will be produced by commercial giants. What are you thinking about this tendency? Is it positive or negative?
— When livestock is situated in one place, of course this is a danger both for environment and the farm. On the other hand, the strong pig concentration on one farm allows to essentially reduce production costs. If there is mechanism of support for smaller farms, they won’t disappear. If there is not, large producers will simply push them out of the market. It is necessary for the state to bear out the development of two branches: an export-oriented one (megacomplexes), that will be ready to compete on foreign markets, and small farms and private sector for partly supporting domestic needs. It is rather difficult to implement this idea because of many causes. But, of course, the state wants to see not only vertically integrated giants on the market. And thing is not only in social employment of rural community. Imagine, some disease bursts out on a large farm unit, as a result, all livestock will be slaughtered. But, if pigs are redisposed on smaller farms, results won’t be so critical.
— You have realized yourself in the scientific-research structure. Now you work on governmental post. What you’d like to learn and what to achieve?
— You know, it is impossible to fully realize yourself in the scientific-research institute — there is always room to grow. If you bring to success a small project, of course you want it to become bigger, with more participants, and bigger effect. The governmental work has other specifity, but possibilities also differ. There are many things, you cannot ‘bail on’, and a lot of thing for realizing. But, sometimes not as fast as you’d like to. Here you can feel the pulsating life the way you do not feel it in science. But, maybe, it is right, because if scientists had to immediately respond to all the problems, they couldn’t resolve strategic issues. Of course, sometimes it happens that problem persists. But, I believe, there are such peculiarities at any work. It is important for me to gain the positive effect in everything I do against all the odds. In fact, the ministry is not working for itself but for producers. When they feel good, it means that ministry does not sleep. I think, the most important is to work on your working place at full capacity. I aspire that.
- On what conditions investors are ready to work with Ukrainian farm units? What will promote better understanding with foreign partners? What activity will promote better investment climate in Ukraine?
- What steps should be taken to get only positive results from association with EU? How the free-trade zone joining can be advantageous (disadvantageous) for Ukrainian pig production? What might be the consequences?
- How does Andriy Getia estimate the governmental intentions to call off the fixed agricultural tax for stock-farmers?
- Why Ukrainian pig producers need to make payments with slaughter companies for slaughter and not live weight?
- What is the topicality of national pig livestock database creation and economical selective-genetic indexes development?
- On what kind of projects, focused on pig breeding development, is the animal department working now?
- What is the possibility of dialogue between the state and producers and how to fix the bilateral cooperation between those who writes laws and those who must carry them out then?
- Branch analysts predict the active development of world pig production till the year 2020. Could Ukraine, according to Andriy Getia’s mind, enter the general positive tendency?
- What restrains the small agricultural producers from cooperative associations?
- On what kind of governmental support for the branch can Ukrainian pig producers expect in 2014-2015?
You can find answers to these and other questions in the full version of the interview with Andriy Getia in the magazine «Profitable Pig Production», № 5 (17) 2013.