A new potato processing plant was officially opened in Lipetsk, Russia, in late April. This first Russian large-scale French fries production facility was built through a joint venture of the Russian Belaya Dacha Group and Lamb Weston/Meijer.
The construction of the plant was subsidized by the Russian State Program for Agriculture Development.
According to Ivan Lebedev, State Secretary and Deputy Minister of Agriculture of the Russian Federation, the facility is another step towards meeting the Russian food demand through local production.
“Over the last few years, Russian agricultural producers have reduced twice the import of goods with the help of state subsidies,” he said. “Our main goal is to provide our domestic market with high quality food at a fair price.”
The total investment amounted to 8.7 billion Rubles (approximately 115 million Euros or USD 140 million). Furthermore, 218 new jobs were created.
By the end of 2019, the plant is expected to reach the full capacity of processing approximately 200,000 tons of potatoes per year.
The first customer will be McDonald’s Corporation. It is expected other local foodservice and retail customers will follow.
To cover the plant’s need for the special variety of high-quality potatoes, Belaya Dacha has created a farmer school which is based on their own production farm in the Tambov region. This farm supplies the new plant with 30 per cent of the total volume of potatoes and has its own advanced and innovative potato storage. The rest of the potatoes are purchased from local farmers through long-term supply contracts.