EFKO starts genetic selection. The company creates a center of genomic selection in Belgorod region

8 December 2017

EFKO starts genetic selection. The company creates a center of genomic selection in Belgorod region

Published by: Kommersant Chernozemie

One of the largest Russian agro-holdings EFKO is planning to provide itself with its own selection of soybean and sunflower, milk cattle and chicken egg. The company wants to create on the base of its own innovation center «Biruch – New Technologies» («Biruch-NT») in Belgorod region a center of molecular and cellular technologies that will deal with genomic selection in plant and animal breeding as well as cell technologies of medical purpose. Investments in «Biruch-NT» can be over 1,5 bn rubles.

EFKO Group itself informed about intention to create in Belgorod region a center of molecular and cellular technologies. «Genomic selection of high-yield and rich in protein soybean sorts adapted to the Central Chernozemie region will be a priority direction of the work of the selective and genetic center of plant breeding in the coming years». Moreover, the company intends to work on sunflower selection. «Specialists of the center plan to join achievements of modern genomic selection, bioinformatics and bioengineering that will let reduce several times getting of new sorts and increase significantly efficiency of selective work».

Center of genomic selection in animal breeding have to deal with creation of technology of accelerated cattle breeding with a high tribal value and providing milk animal breeding with tribal material.

According to Tatiana Sanina, CEO of «Biruch-NT», in the future the work of the center will let provide Russian milk animal breeding with its own genetics. In the center «there are equipment for genotyping of farm animals, ECO-works and getting of embryos from valuable animals to accelerate selective work». Furthermore, EFKO Group established collaboration with All-Russian institute of animal husbandry named after Ernst. In the medium-term perspective technologies of genomic selection will be applied for tribal poultry and pig breeding as well as genomic editing, sexing of bull seed and chicken egg to get offspring of necessary gender.

Center of cell technologies will deal with development and implementation of the products based on stem and specialized cells as well as their metabolites in medicine and veterinary. «Implementation of cell therapy technology in the public health system of Belgorod and Central Chernozemie regions of the RF will become the main aspect of the project activity – it will make high-tech medicine service available to the population», - EFKO specialists commented.

The issue on providing with its own cattle genetics is related to purchasing of a share in the Belgorod milk company «Zelenaya dolina». The Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) disseminated the information about the future bargain on 5 December and the next day Sergey Yudin, chairman of the board of directors of «Zelenaya dolina» informed about building of a plant that will produce baby food with an estimated capacity of 1 ths tn per day in Alexeevka district, Belgorod region. According to some sources, EFKO also was involved in it. But nobody in the company confirmed or denied it. Besides, EFKO is developing egg processing – according to the regional government, recently the company launched a specialized plant in the region. Thus, the Group doesn’t have its own production in egg business yet.

«Biruch-NT» - R&D center of EFKO Group – specializes in development of solutions in food and feed biotechnologies, feed products for farm animals, oleo chemistry and their implementation in the Group’s business. According to «SPARK-Interfax», «Innovation center «Biruch-NT» LLC was registered in March 2016 in Alexeevka. It fully belongs to «EFKO Food products» JSC. Net profit in 2016 amounted to 164 ths rubles.

EFKO has already dealt with soybean selection. The company built in Alexeevka a selective and seed breeding center for seed production that costs over 600 mn rubles, by 2019 it plans to start growing of its own sorts. Now dependence of Russia on imported sunflower hybrids amounts to 70-80%, situation with soybean is the same, - experts comment. But soybean requires more seeds per hectare and purchasing of foreign seeds becomes too expensive for farmers, while sunflower continues to be purchased often abroad, - Viktor Antipov, CEO of Kursk seed breeding enterprise «Artel» JSC, notes.

EFKO can become a leading Russian company that deals with genomic selection in animal breeding, Tatyana Rybalova, independent expert on milk market, comments: «In state programs on development of agriculture selection got considerable attention. Even since economic reforms of the 90’s until 2006, when there was a lack of support of agriculture, tribal animal breeding got some subsidies. But there have never been such major private investments in genomic selection». Now the government encourages even purchasing of tribal animals and embryos abroad via exemption from VAT, and EFKO can reckon on a large-scale State support in realization of the project, Tatyana Rybalova emphasized. In Russia there is still only one animal breeding complex that makes bioproducts – «Betagran Lipetsk» LLC (about 9 ths embryos of specified gender per year). EFKO can draw in its selection work on the results of national science – developments of Russian scientists approach to the western ones, - Andrey Kudinov, junior scientific worker of the laboratory of genome molecular organization of All Russian institute of genetics and farm animals husbandry, tells.

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