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26.09.2018 | Наталья Кулагина

Revival of the linen industry in Russia

In recent years, the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Industry and Trade of Russia have taken a number of serious measures aimed at supporting domestic flax production, but additional efforts are required to bring the industry out of the crisis. 


The participants of the session "Renovation of the linen complex of Russia", held in February 2018 as part of the Russian Investment Forum, recognized that the linen industry has lost its position in the Russian and world markets in recent decades and its restoration is a priority. In his speech at the session, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation Viktor Yevtukhov noted that it is necessary to return attention to flax and revive the linen complex of the country. According to him, the world market of flax products is estimated at $ 2.2 billion per year, Russia's share in this market is only 0.5%. Therefore, it is necessary to start making money on the export of flax fiber, as this is a good help for the regions of the Non-Chernozem region. He explained that it is necessary not just to own raw materials, but to receive income from it, increasing the degree of its processing, expanding the product range and developing waste-free production. The Deputy Minister also added that with the active participation of the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Industry and Trade has already begun to "unwind the linen flywheel".



In order to develop the linen industry on the initiative of the former director of the State Drug Control Viktor Ivanov in 2018, the interregional public foundation "Linen Union" was established, whose board of trustees he headed. The Fund aims to solve the problem of raw materials for the textile industry in order to reduce the country's import dependence on cotton. In the framework of the session "Renovation of the linen complex of Russia" In, Viktor Ivanov proposed to approve at the federal level a priority project "New flax industry in the Russian Federation". According to him, flax should be the key to the rise and reconstruction of the Non-Chernozem region, since today from 30 to 50% of arable land in each of the regions is abandoned and not cultivated, and this is a huge resource. "The investment potential of Russian flax is enormous. Today, our revenue per hectare is 4 times less than in France. If we take certain measures, we can, at least 2 times increase the yield of flax products per hectare and raise profitability," noted Viktor Ivanov.



He stated that the super task is a global monopoly on flax. And there are foundations for this, an analysis of soil lands and climatic conditions in all countries of the world has shown that about 80% of the lands most suitable for the cultivation of this crop are located on the territory of the Russian Federation.


To solve such ambitious tasks, comprehensive state support of the industry is needed. And the first steps in this direction have already been taken. This year, the Ministry of Agriculture allocates per-hectare funds to 10 thousand. rub. for every hectare sown with flax. This is a direct subsidy from the budget, which will be allocated next year.


Director of the Department of Economics, Investments and Regulation of Agricultural Markets, Ministry of Agriculture Anatoly Kutsenko said that in 2018–2020, the ministry plans to allocate 20 billion rubles to support flax production, including 7.4 billion rubles this year. According to the ministry, thanks to state support, it is possible to ensure the profitability of the linen industry not lower than 15%, which will allow to consistently increase production.



In turn, the regions of the Non-Chernozem region are ready to revive the former glory of the linen industry. This requires a whole range of measures, including overcoming the technical backlog, training new personnel, and the introduction of modern technologies.


Governor of the Smolensk region Alexey Ostrovsky believes that in the long term, the export of flax products to world markets can take the first position after the export of grain.And the Smolensk region is able to become a driver on this path, reviving its leading positions in the country in flax production. This is one of the regions where flax growing traditions are still preserved, modernization is underway, modern technologies are used. According to the governor, on the basis of these developments and the experience of other subjects of the federation, it is possible to raise the flax-growing industry in the region.



In one of the interviews Alexey Ostrovsky said: "We have attracted a large investor who has already started designing and building a new flax plant, the first in Russia in the last 30 years. The initiator of the project is the company "Russian flax", which is part of the Textile division of the agro-industrial holding "Promagro". The implementation of the investment project is planned until 2020. The total investment volume will be about 2 billion rubles. It is planned that the enterprise will process 10 thousand tons of flax yarn, and the production of flax yarn will amount to almost 4 thousand tons.


Udmurtia is not lagging behind in this regard. Here they intend to more than quadruple the area of flax crops in the coming years from the current 4.5 thousand hectares (11% of the total Russian indicator) to 20 thousand, it was announced in Izhevsk at a meeting on the prospects of the flax industry with the participation of representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture of Russia. According to the first deputy Minister Dzhambulat Khatuov, the department is preparing a program for the development of flax growing. One hundred investment projects are planned to modernize flax plants, including in Udmurtia. The document will provide for such support measures as the provision of subsidies to flax producers (raw materials for further processing), 50% reimbursement of costs for the modernization of production facilities and the purchase of modern equipment.



As part of the 51st Federal Wholesale Fair «Tekstillegprom», held from September 18 to 21, an interactive panel discussion was held: «Russian linen textiles: a brilliant world future". It presented a Roadmap for the implementation of Strategies for the development of the linen industry of the Russian Federation in 2019 and 2021, according to which the industry development targets should be determined, highly profitable prototypes of enterprises and systems that should be used by business within existing markets should be organized, domestic mechanical engineering for cleaning and flax processing, and also formed a state order for products from flax and new markets for flax processing products.


The participants of the discussion noted that one of the main priorities of the industry is increasing the production of domestic flax and obtaining high-quality domestic flax fiber.


The discussion also discussed issues related to the machine-building «re-equipment » of the linen industry, industry science and personnel, state support measures, linen textiles as the basis of materials of the future and others.


Photo:Alexander Utkin,shutterstock,