In today's conditions, the competitiveness of national economies is determined by, above all, their actual innovative potential and how effectively it is utilized. In light of the need to work out effective strategic objectives for resolving the world's food problem, Russia, too, is expected to carry out a number of systematic activities aimed at guiding its agro-industrial complex to a path of innovative development (Farinyuk & Glebova, 2013).
A major issue facing the nation's agro-industrial sector is renewing and upgrading fixed assets. That being said, domestic agriculture needs not just new machinery but an integrated material-technical base that will help boost labour productivity and minimize costs per unit of output multifold (Avarskii et al., 2015). In fostering the innovative development of Russia's agrarian sector, it may help to look to the experience of the nations within Northwest Europe (Sweden, Finland, etc.), where agricultural enterprises are always interested in implementing novel scientific solutions and the state provides efficient support for the agro-industrial complex through low taxes, facilitating the attraction of investment (Lamprinopoulou et al., 2014).
The development of innovative infrastructure has been limited to the creation of a few innovative centres, the contribution of which to the interaction of science and small and medium businesses has been extremely insufficient for now. A major issue within the agrarian sector is the lack of mechanisms for transferring innovative solutions into production (Kazannikov, 2012).
Research indicates that innovative activity in agriculture is determined by diversity in types of agricultural output and differences in the method of their production; significant differentiation across regions and the technological dependence of production on natural and climatic conditions; manufacturers being detached from science institutions; most organizational-economic mechanisms for translating research insights into innovations being underdeveloped; diversity in the organizational forms of agricultural activity (Kuchieva et al., 2016).
It is of relevance to try to resolve the issue of enabling the prompt transfer of innovations to agricultural producers. It is normally believed that at the innovation creation stage the state ought to entirely ensure the funding of basic research, while applied projects oriented toward specific requests from the market may be funded through both state and private sources. The most common types of innovation identified by research are new varieties and hybrids of plants and animals, new microorganism strains, new and modified models of agricultural machinery, new technologies, new chemical and biological preparations (vaccines) and new economic solutions (Pound & Conroy, 2017).
Innovations are reproduced in agriculture by seed farms, stud farms, machine-building enterprises and bio factories (Wright, 2012).
It will be possible to galvanize innovative activity in agriculture at the stages of developing, testing and reproducing innovations through the creation of science parks (technoparks), regional centres for technology transfer, business incubators and other innovative establishments, factoring in the regional and sectorial characteristics of agro-industrial production (Marinchenko, 2016).
Furthermore, it is worth noting that what makes crop farming sector more attractive to manufacturers and investors is that it requires less expenditure of labour per unit of output and that the length of an operation cycle for major crops is a lot shorter than that for livestock farming and harvests can be achieved just using the useful properties of soil in combination with favourable weather conditions, with minimal efforts required to look after the plantings, as well as requires less expenditure on marketing. Crop farming currently accounts for 56.4% of Russia's gross agricultural output...