Interview of Lev Semyonovich Chernoy
Vestnik journal (December 2016)
Lev Semyonovich, please, tell us about the main stages of the project. When is the full commissioning of the plant planned?
The project is impressive with the cost of about 30 billion rubles. It is first time for construction of such complex in Russia. Sometimes some project solutions are being agreed during the construction stage, getting changed and improved. However, the scale of the project does not really affect the dynamics of its implementation. Less than two years passed since signing of the agreement in 2012 and until the completion of the first stage - starting-up of the new wheat storage with storage capacity 160 thousand tons of wheat. Now we started commissioning works of the second stage, the commissioning of the main production and test production. By the middle of the next year we are planning to have full production cycle, and by the end of 2017 to reach full capacity of the plant. We are focused on integrated production - from wheat growing to its deep processing. The complex capacity is processing up to 250 thousand tons of wheat per year. In order to get own raw materials we have already acquired 4,3 thousand hectares of land in Kaluga region. The plan for the near future is to bring the volume of arable land up to 10 thousand hectares, and in the future we intend to grow up to 80 thousand tons of own wheat. I know that some farmers in Kaluga region reoriented on us with the hope to find a large consumer of raw materials. We are ready to buy wheat from them. I'm sure it will give an additional impulse to development of wheat production in the region.
How did the idea to start this business come up? Is the complex itself unique? How about the technology?
The idea was given by the time. "BiotechRosva" meets today’s requirements of Russian economy. I have already said that Russia does not have similar plants. The biotechnological field itself is relatively new. Vladimir Putin, the President of the Russian Federation has been pointed out numerous times the necessity of the development of this field in the country. The project is getting implemented on the initiative of the "Institute for Advanced scientific researches" under the Department of Social Science of Russian Academy of Science. Being its head I know how professional it is dealing with the evaluation and selection high technologies. For example, the project, we are talking about today. The plant is progressive for Russian biotechnological industry per totality of put together innovative technologies, engineering and equipment. All processes of the plant are environment friendly, near waste-free and energy efficient. The product range has 6 names. Sorbitol, dextrose and HPS-55 are not manufactured in Russia, so that the company has also significantly import substitution potential..
What is an innovative business? Is it necessary to have some specific qualities to do it in Russia?
In the case of Biotech Rosva, we are dealing with innovative in this segment technological lines, i.e. with those, which are able to change the situation in the Russian market of biotechnological products. Those people who assume the responsibility for the things around them, are able to work with such projects. They are not interested only in the profit: they would like to do something for the country, where their children live and study. I will say without exaggeration that the project was planned as another growth point in one of the regions of central Russia. Our top priority is creation of a socially responsible business cluster, the basis of which is large-scale production, giving impetus to the development of agriculture and small business.
Why did you decide to implement the project is in Kaluga region?
The region has a considered development policy, welcoming conditions for work are created. An important factor is proximity to market place and availability of raw materials’ resources of the center and South of Russia. At the start we were given a good plot with all necessary infrastructures. The region fulfills all its responsibilities. The governor is in charge of the project. I'm grateful personally to Anatoly Dmitrievich and to his team for the support given. We also cooperate with the regional Ministry of Agriculture and Leonid Gromov, the head of the Ministry of Agriculture
What specialists are required by the company? What are the most important criteria for "BiotechRosva" employees?
Since the complex is unique, we need highly qualified specialists on the technological lines. At the first stage we have invited experienced specialists from other regions. Now we are looking for such personnel in Kaluga and in other regions. With regards to the training of young specialists we cooperate with Kaluga branch of Agricultural academy named after K.A. Timiryazev. Regarding the criteria I will say that it is very important personnel’s interest in their work and its result. Moreover, it is not only and not so much the material interest. One should love the work, be inspired by it. Now this core team is created. In the near future it will grow: we are planning to hire the specialist of production, laboratory specialists, administrative and office staff. Also, staff of engineering and technical services including automation specialists will be required. Today 102 employees are working at the plant, in the near future we are planning to increase the number of employees up to 300. We expect that Kaluga residents will be almost 90%.