Agroindustrial Innovation Park «M4 DON»

The cooperation of the business community of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) countries is gradually gaining momentum. One of the ambitious projects aimed at strengthening this process is the creation of the agroindustrial innovative park M4Don in the Voronezh region. Ruben Sardaryan, General Director of the park, tells our magazine about the park itself, its role for Russia and the Union as a whole.. 

CEO Ruben Sardaryan

1640 THOUSAND m2 total area
500 THOUSAND m2 area ORC
35 BILLION RUB. project budget

About the park itself, its role for Russia and the Union as a whole

– We want to present the park, show its strengths to partners, potential residents and investors. Th is is a huge project, both in terms of size – 1640 thousand square meters, cost – 35 billion rubles, and in terms of the scale of the tasks – we want to use it to speed up and increase the exchange of goods from all EAEU member states. A wholesale distribution center (WDC) with an area of 500 thousand square meters will be built on the territory of the park, which will give an impetus to the integration of entrepreneurs in the agricultural sector of all members of the union. Today the park is a prepared site, which is already waiting for residents. We are negotiating with diff erent companies that are interested in our format, and we want as many people as possible to learn about the park. 

– First, the park has a very convenient
geographical location, because the M4Don highway serves as a “bridge” between all members of the EAEU. For example, if Armenian entrepreneurs want to ship something to Belarus, they do it in the shortest and most convenient way – through Voronezh. And the situation is the same with goods from other countries that are members of the union. Second, of course, the availability of developed communications is of great importance. Th e plot is fl at, convenient, prepared for construction, there is an asphalt road, issues with gas and
sewage treatment plants have been resolved, and electricity will also be available soon. Residents, large and small companies, which will buy or rent space, will receive signifi cant preferences, for example, subsidies and tax breaks from the state and the region during the construction of their facilities and the fi rst few years of doing business. Also, I would like to add that we plan to create a network of similar parks in other EAEU member countries, so it will be convenient for residents to establish business relations with colleagues from abroad. Our own information system will allow the exchange of data in order to minimize the time and fi nancial costs of fi nding customers, transactions or receiving support. In addition, unlike colleagues from other parks, to whom I wish every success, we deliberately went into a narrow specialization for agricultural enterprises. Th at is, in those parks there are diff erent types of industry – chemical, construction, furniture, a lot of things, but we focus on agriculture. One way or another, our residents should be associated with the production and processing of agricultural products, food industry. When we started this project, the fundamental social idea was to give people natural products of good quality that one can safely buy in a store. We consider this extremely important for public health. Th erefore, we will have our own laboratory, and the products will undergo certifi cation and strict control from the ground to the counter. We plan to organize all this on the basis of the scientifi c and educational center (SEC), which will become one of the points of attraction of the park.

– You probably noticed the word “innovative” in the name of the park. Th is was done deliberately so that residents understand: we must always work on advanced technologies. If we want to achieve results and be interesting for other countries, then we are simply obliged to combine science and production on one site. Th erefore, we invited the leading universities of the region to participate in the project and signed preliminary cooperation agreements with some of them. At our site, we will jointly create a new generation scientifi c and educational center. Th e SEC will provide a wide range of educational and advisory services, hold seminars on the cultivation and production of agricultural products. We will do everything so that agricultural producers have the opportunity to gain access to the latest knowledge in the industry. Th e mission of the SEC is to contribute to the effi cient production of goods for a healthy diet, including through the competent management of economic activities on the ground.

– Th e park is private, and we allocated money for its creation. Now for the implementation of individual projects at the park, we are negotiating with investors, including some of the leading banks of the Russian Federation. Th ree years were spent on analysis, project development and preparation for its implementation. Th e construction itself will begin with the construction of the WDC facilities, which is scheduled for spring 2020. In parallel, we will work with agricultural producers in the region. As for the SEC, we are now in search of partners, we are negotiating with Swiss, Dutch and Austrian institutes and universities: they are interested in cooperating with us. If we succeed, our center will be international. 

– We have a constant dialogue with the Eurasian Economic Commission, exchange information, and receive support from it on some issues. In April, we talked about this topic in the Ministry of Agriculture of Armenia, we are negotiating with Kyrgyzstan and other countries. We do not do wide advertising because the project is specialized.  However, over the past year alone, we presented the park project at the interstate business forum in Singapore, as well as in European countries: Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Belgium, the Netherlands, etc. We also held a number of meetings in foreign embassies, and everywhere our presentation aroused keen interest and support. First of all, the project is supported, of course, in Russia. We work closely with the relevant federal ministries and the government of the Voronezh region. A state working group has been created to support the implementation of the project, so we are able to solve all arising problems quickly. 

– We are members of the Association “Technology Platform “Technologies of the food and processing industry of the agroindustrial complex – healthy food products.” We have expert opinions from several large Russian universities. Th ey analyzed our project and gave it an assessment. Th e texts of these conclusions will be published in the public domain so that potential investors can familiarize themselves with them. 

– As far as I know, there are no direct analogues.

– It is important for the development of the agricultural sector both in Russia and in all EAEU countries. Th e opportunity for entrepreneurs to conduct business in good conditions will give an impetus to all manufacturers to work for the market. In Armenia, for example, they are looking forward to new opportunities to sell their products in all EAEU markets. Aft er the collapse of the USSR, this union represents a new balanced approach to cooperation. Th ere is no doubt that in the future other countries will also join this young economic alliance. If they contribute to its development, everyone will eventually win. Our platform will help active interested entrepreneurs fi nd each other, communicate and cooperate, which will certainly increase the competitiveness of their products. 

– I’m sure that yes. People will support each other, open production facilities, and consult in order not to make mistakes. Th e world is changing rapidly, and what has been done today has actually become yesterday. We must work, be more active in order to develop. Our park project includes product certifi cation, as I said. When it is implemented, we will be able to convey to our foreign partners that products manufactured in Russia comply with international standards and can be exported. Th en, probably, it will be possible to establish sales in all regions of the world. Of course, for certifi cation, it will be necessary to bring our national standards and those of other countries into line. And although all this is very diffi  cult, it is possible and necessary to work on it. I believe that the future is in our hands, you only need to make an eff ort to achieve the desired result. We will do so – and we will succeed. 

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