On October 2, a ceremony to celebrate the launch of Grodan's substrate production was held at Alabuga SEZ. Grodan is a member of the Rockwool Group. Attending the opening ceremony were Prime Minister of the Republic of Tatarstan Alexey Pesoshin, Danish Ambassador to Russia Carsten Sondergaard, Senior Vice President of ROCKWOOL International Thomas Keller, and CEO of ROCKWOOL Russia Marina Potoker.
Investments in the project to produce higher technology substrates from rock wool for growing vegetables and plants in modern greenhouse facilities amounted to more than RUB 500 million. This is the fourth Grodan plant in the world and the first in Russia. The construction contractor for the Grodan plant is SEZ subsidiary company Alabuga Development, which was established specifically for general contracting services to SEZ residents. Construction began in September 2017 and finished ahead of schedule.
Grodan's substrates are also produced in the Netherlands, Poland, and Canada. Today the production site in Russia is the most state-of-the-art platform for substrates production using precise cultivation technology.
Grodan is the first international brand to localize the production of high-tech substrates in Russia. The new Grodan production facility's opening will help to further implement innovations to expand Russia's fast-growing greenhouse market. "Today there are 2.5 thousand hectares of modern greenhouses in Russia. Last year, more than 200 hectares of greenhouses were commissioned to production, and this year we expect an additional 400 hectares to be built. Tatarstan is an innovation leader. Alabuga SEZ does a great deal to increase the country's GDP," Petr Chekmarev, Director of the Russian Ministry of Agriculture's Department of Plant Growing, Mechanization, Chemicalization and Plant Protection, noted during the opening ceremony.
"Tatarstan is one of the major and most interesting regions for Denmark with a great potential for collaboration in different areas. Rockwool is one of Denmark's flagship companies with great traditions and innovative solutions. As a representative of Denmark, I am proud to see that Rockwool expands its presence in Russia, increases number of jobs, improves economical situation", ambassador extraordinary of Denmark in Russia Carsten Sondergaard commented during the opening ceremony.
Prime Minister of the Republic of Tatarstan Alexey Pesoshin highlighted the importance of the fact that Rockwool — a current resident of Alabuga SEZ — chose Tatarstan to expand its production. "Today the Republic of Tatarstan is one of the Russian Federation's leading industrial centers. In Tatarstan, there are a lot of new production facilities, localization of components is on the rise, and entire clusters are being developed. Choosing Tatarstan to expand Grodan's production proves the enormous potential of the Republic to further increase industrial production," Alexey Pesoshin said.Thomas Keller, Senior Vice President of ROCKWOOL International, emphasized that the precise cultivation method invented by Grodan is the most effective way of cultivation at the moment and the most ecological and effective way to increase productivity of modern greenhouse facilities. The precise cultivation principle using seedling plugs, plantlet cubes and a vegetative pad from rock wool makes it possible to use less water, fertilizers, and space. For example, water usage for tomatoes cultivation is reduced by up to 15 times. This technology makes it possible to improve initial moisturization and ensure more precise management of plant growth. "We are proud of our strong positions and fast growth in Russia. In the future, we are going to support our capability to help the local manufacturers market. I would like to thank President of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov and the team that provided so much support for our company when the enterprise launched in 2012. Tatarstan is a golden example of implementing advanced technologies and the best solutions," Thomas Keller said.