Challenges of agricultural market research in Russia

Date of publication: February 1, 1996

Author: Vladimir Lapin

Abstract:

Russia is a vast agricultural market; even in the current depressed state of the economy, farm inputs represent multi-billion dollar purchases. Consumer market research is developing rapidly, but with interviewers located in the large cities with little appropriateness for rural interviewing. The isolated rural areas, the huge distances, and the problems of infrastructure place great challenges on agricultural research in Russia. This paper examines the application of classic quantitative market research methods and how the difficulties have been overcome in the last few years. The paper presents results from a 1995 450 farm survey concerning arable farms. There are not just the much publicised changes of privatisation and failing economic structures but also the change in attitude of the farming managers. Buying behaviour is changing rapidly, new distributors of farm inputs are appearing. However, the vestiges of the old command system remain, not necessarily in the structure but often in the mentality of the operators. Whilst the path forward does not look totally smooth and simple, there are encouraging signs of new merchant structures emerging and of farm managers gaining a more commercial acumen. As FarmTrak prepares for its third survey in 1996 the investment in training and resources of the market research discipline look well in place.

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