SOCHI, Russia, Oct. 25, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Andrey Guryev, the CEO of PhosAgro and President of the Russian Fertilizer Producers Association (RFPA), described the benefits of Russian fertilizers and agricultural products for African partners at the agro-industrial session of the Russia–Africa Economic Forum in Sochi.
A panel session called 'Sustainable Partnership in the Agro-industrial Sphere: Institutions, Tools, Guarantees' was held with the support of PhosAgro. Participants included Nigeria's Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo; Russia's Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Sergey Levin; the Chair of the National Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Kenya, Angela Ndambuki; the World Bank's Agriculture and Food Security Practice Manager for Africa, Holger Kray; the CEO of United Oil Processing and Packaging, Yahya Zakaria al-Shafi; the Managing Partner of Gemcorp Capital, Selim Basak; the Executive Director of the Union of Grain Exporters, Eduard Zernin; the President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Yug Rusi, Sergei Kislov; and the Deputy Chairman of the Board of Directors of Uralchem, Dmitry Konyaev. The session was moderated by Albert Davleev, President of Agrifood Strategies.
In starting the discussion, Russian Deputy Agriculture Minister Levin noted that Russian–African cooperation is flourishing: over the past three years, he said, Russian exports to Africa have grown by more than 70%.
"Despite such impressive and rapid results, we still have room to grow in terms of bilateral cooperation and trade. Let me remind you that we supplied Africa with USD 4.6 billion in food last year. But in quantitative terms, this is 5.5 per cent of total food imports by African countries," the Deputy Minister stressed in urging Russian exporters to expand the geography and range of their shipments.
He added that, in the short term, Russia could double its exports to Africa, increasing them by more than USD 5 billion.
"Russia and Africa and are perfectly complementary. We are fated to be reliable strategic partners. Taking into account the tripling of the African food market forecast by the World Bank, Russia can and will be one of the most important participants and guarantors of food security in Africa and a reliable supplier of key types of food," Mr Levin concluded.
The World Bank's Mr Kray stressed, "There has been no better moment in history for an agricultural partnership between Africa and the Russian Federation." The reason for this, he said, is the "fundamental transformation of the agricultural sector" that African states are undergoing today. According to Mr Kray, the volume of investment in the agricultural value chain in Africa over the past five years has grown by 800%, which has led to an increase in mechanisation, the application of fertilizers and the use of digital solutions.
At the heart of the transformation of African agriculture that experts have observed is the rapid growth in demand for agricultural products in African countries. According to statistics cited by Gemcorp Capital's Managing Partner, Mr Basak, demand for agricultural products in Africa has been increasing at an even faster than demographic growth: over 10 years, the population has grown by 32%, while wheat consumption has increased by 63%. Over the next decade, this trend will only intensify.
Nigerian Industry, Trade and Investment Minister Adebayo supported the prospects for cooperation between Russia and African countries in the agricultural sector. He noted that all the prerequisites for the development of a partnership between Russia and Nigeria in the agricultural sector are now in place. On the one hand, "Nigeria is now focused on the rapid development of its agricultural sector"; at the same time, he said, "Russia transformed its average agricultural sector in the 2000s into its current impressive form."
"Now is the best time to establish partnerships with our agricultural producers," he stressed.
Ms Ndambuki, Chair of the National Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Kenya, noted that Kenya is interested in attracting investments and state-of-the-art Russian agricultural technologies, while also highlighting the fact that, rather than competing with one another, Kenyan and Russian agricultural products are complementary, thus contributing to cooperation.
Mr. Zernin, Executive Director of the Union of Grain Exporters, said that Africa is a very important market for Russian producers of grain, the country's main agricultural export to the continent, pointing out that, from year to year, at least 30% of Russian exports are shipped to Africa.
"Today, Russian grain is most competitive precisely in terms of price. As they say in boxing, winning the title is easy; the hard part is keeping it. We are now facing a challenge: we need to consolidate our status as a leader, and it is impossible to do so without investing in infrastructure. Therefore, we continue to make such investments," he stressed.
The session's moderator, Mr. Davleev, President of Agrifood Strategies, noted that Russia's exports to the countries of Africa are primarily concentrated in three main areas: mineral fertilizers, grain products and fat-and-oil products. Mr Davleev asked the President of the RFPA and PhosAgro's CEO, Mr Guryev, to tell his African colleagues about the "serious competitive advantages that Russian fertilizers have in the global market."
"As Russian producers of mineral fertilizers, we base our production on the most unique environmentally friendly phosphate raw material in the world. We mine it on the Kola Peninsula, in the north, above the Arctic Circle. This raw material is unique in that it doesn't contain concentrations of carcinogenic metals, including cadmium," stressed Mr Guryev.
He added that the environmental friendliness of Russian fertilizers ensures that the agricultural products grown with them are a priori some of the cleanest in the world: heavy metals do not contaminate the soil; they do not enter plants, wheat and then meat; and they do not accumulate in the human body. The purity of Russian fertilizers was the basis for the creation of the "Green Standard" for Russian products, which will emphasise the safety of Russian agricultural products for consumers in Russia and abroad.
"The 'Green Standard', created pursuant to the instructions of Russian President Vladimir Putin, will become a new brand and benchmark for the quality of Russian products around the world. In cooperation with the FAO, we initiated work to recognise the 'Green Standard' as a global benchmark for quality. We invite our African colleagues to join the 'Green Club', to use environmentally friendly fertilizers and the agricultural products that they help grow. This will give local agricultural products a competitive advantage in the global market, where demand for products such as coffee and cocoa is growing. More importantly, it will protect the health of the people of Africa and local soils," emphasised Mr Guryev.
PhosAgro (www.phosagro.ru) is one of the world's leading vertically integrated phosphate-based fertilizer producers in terms of production volumes of phosphate-based fertilizers and high-grade phosphate rock with a P2O5 content of 39% and higher. PhosAgro's environmentally friendly fertilizers stand out for their high efficiency, and they do no lead to the contamination of soils with heavy metals.
The Company is the largest phosphate-based fertilizer producer in Europe (by total combined capacity for DAP/MAP/NP/NPK/NPS), the largest producer of high-grade phosphate rock with a P2O5 content of 39%, a top-three producer of MAP/DAP globally, one of the leading producers of feed phosphates (MCP) in Europe, and the only producer in Russia, and Russia's only producer of nepheline concentrate (according to the RAFP).
PhosAgro's main products include phosphate rock, 39 grades of fertilizers, feed phosphates, ammonia, and sodium tripolyphosphate, which are used by customers in 100 countries spanning all of the world's inhabited continents. The Company's priority markets outside of Russia and the CIS are Latin America, Europe and Asia.
PhosAgro's shares are traded on the Moscow Exchange, and global depositary receipts (GDRs) for shares trade on the London Stock Exchange (under the ticker PHOR). Since 1 June 2016, the Company's GDRs have been included in the MSCI Russia and MSCI Emerging Markets indexes.
More information about PhosAgro can be found on the website: www.phosagro.ru.