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PhosAgro CEO Takes Part in Panel Session for Agribusiness Leaders at the Synergy Executive Forum

8 June 2020
• PhosAgro CEO Andrey Guryev says Company’s production output to exceed 10 mln tonnes of fertilizers in 2020

Moscow – Andrey Guryev, the CEO of PhosAgro and President of the Russian Fertilizer Producers Association (RFPA), took part in a panel session for Russian agribusiness leaders during the Synergy Executive Forum. 

The Chairman of the Board of Directors of Rostselmash, Konstantin Babkin, and the founder of the Russian Parmesan project, Oleg Sirota, also took part in the session, which focused on the stories behind successful agricultural companies, as told in the first person.

To start the discussion, moderator Sergey Profatilov, who is the owner of Globalpas and founder of the Redbridge IT ecosystem, asked Mr Guryev about the specifics of running an agribusiness.

“One of the main features of the agricultural sector is the need to regularly make long-term decisions that are then difficult to quickly change. The price of a mistake is very high: the financial stability of the agricultural industry and the food security of the country,” said PhosAgro’s CEO.

He added that Russian agribusiness has come a long way over the past few decades, from the world's largest importer of grain to the world's largest exporter of wheat. 

“The agricultural sector is the driving force behind the Russian economy, growing last year at a rate three times faster than the country’s GDP. This is a massive, high-yield business that is increasingly using state-of-the-art agricultural technologies, above all high-quality mineral fertilizers from Russian producers,” said Mr Guryev.

Over the past five years, for example, sales of Russian mineral crop nutrients to domestic farmers has increased by 40%. This is the result of large-scale investments in the development of production capacities, which amounted to RUB 800 billion over the same period, including RUB 200 billion invested by PhosAgro. Over the next five years, investment into the industry will exceed RUB 1 trillion.

At the same time, Russia remains the only country in the world that is 100% self-sufficient in all three of the key nutrient groups, while also exporting them to more than 100 countries around the world. 

The head of the RFPA stressed that the domestic market will always be the strategic priority for Russian producers of mineral fertilizers. “In just the first five months of 2020, PhosAgro’s domestic distribution network supplied about 1.5 million tonnes of mineral fertilizers. To meet the growing demand of Russian farmers and to maintain positions in 102 countries around the world, our Company intends to produce a record volume of over 10 million tonnes of fertilizers this year,” said Mr Guryev. 

According to PhosAgro’s CEO, the Company has undergone a radical transformation in recent years, developing from just a fertilizer producer into a supplier of ready-made solutions for guaranteed high yields. 

“We provide not only traditional services such as the delivery and storage of fertilizers, but also agricultural consulting, services for the selection of fertilizer systems and protective equipment, as well as equipment leasing. We offer customers complete fertilizer systems that are best suited to specific types of soils and plants, that balance yields and product quality with profitability and environmental safety,” said Mr Guryev, adding that PhosAgro is working on the development of fundamentally new products such as biostimulants, biobacterial additives and deficiency correctors with Innopraktika, the Russian Academy of Sciences and the country’s leading agrarian universities: the Timiryazev Agricultural Academy and the Saratov State and Kuban State Agrarian Universities. In addition, a well-functioning long-term partnership for the implementation and testing of intensive agricultural technologies and the testing of mineral fertilizers in various climatic conditions has been established with AgroGard, one of the leading and most technologically advanced agricultural holdings in Russia.

In response to a question from the moderator about what qualities a manager should have, Mr Guryev noted the importance of understanding all of a company’s business processes and the ability to work as part of a team and to manage personnel. 

He added that a leader should have a strategic vision for the company’s development and should not be afraid to take responsibility.

Mr Profatilov also asked Mr Guryev to provide advice to businesspeople aiming for success in their industries.

“Don’t forget to invest in your workforce. This is a really important part of management. 

“At PhosAgro, we start preparing [future] personnel while they’re at school. To begin working successfully at a complex production enterprise like PhosAgro, however, one needs more than basic education. That’s why we carry out the PhosAgro Schools project, support specialised educational institutions and provide grants to young scientists in partnership with UNESCO. In doing so, we are preparing ourselves as a company, as well as the entire agricultural sector, for the future,” said Mr Guryev. 

PhosAgro’s CEO stressed that, in this day and age, a business should set for itself not only traditional objectives related to profitability, but should also focus on the environmental friendliness of its production and on sustainable development. 

“In this context, Russian mineral fertilizer producers have a unique competitive advantage: the absence of heavy metal concentrations in the phosphate rock used to make our products. For this reason, Russian fertilizers are recognised as the standard in terms of environmental friendliness throughout the world. When we supply domestic agribusinesses with our fertilizers, we share this advantage with farmers, ensuring that their products meet the highest standards of environmental safety and quality,” concluded Mr Guryev.