The fertile farm: making our to be an innovator in growing organic berries

The founder of “Fertile farms” Sergey Marchuk used resources: the company gathered, harvested and transported to factories waste paper, film, PET and metal. However, by 2013 the business, according to Sergei, has outlived its usefulness.

“All I wanted to do white, but the scheme is not allowed. I wanted to make clear business, not to muddy and not to twist, and not to seek to shift”, — says Sergey. Love at first sight

About eight months left to search for ideas until I read about the blueberries and decided that it’s worth a try. After a week found in Zhytomyr seminar on technologies of cultivation of blueberry. I bought tickets for myself, wife and father-in-law. And went.

Immediately realized that the blueberry — it was love at first sight, and decided to put it in Ishmael 8 hectares of land, inherited.

“But the experts we talked, because Ishmael, too hot summer and a lot of clay in the soil for blueberries is bad,” says the entrepreneur.

Then decided to buy a plot in the Birches chechelnitskaya district of Vinnytsia region. Why? It is the birthplace of Sergey’s paternal and there is sandy soil suitable for blueberries. Decided — did. Bought a house and hectares of land for UAH 15 thousand. First investment in the land made from their own savings. Since the decision to grow blueberries it’s only been two weeks! Read about the winners of the contest BECAME and vote for the best on page ranking

Seedlings bought in the winery, in the laboratory In vitro Vladimir Goncharuk. Then Sergey started to buy in the village land, a total of 15 allotments of various sizes.

“So collected a bit of earth, but since she was in the floodplain of the river, it was terribly overgrown with reeds and shrubs. A lot of money had to spend to root out, — Sergey says about his first steps in the berry business. — Bought a chainsaw and cut trees, get wood, they were sold on the market, and for the money, took the tractor and uprooted stumps”.

A little later found a plot of 36 hectares in the forest, which referred to lands of a stock. Decided that the land is very suitable for blueberries, but didn’t know whose it is. And six months later in the village came a classmate of Sergei’s father and said that this land reserve can be rented. The government gave land on lease for farming for 7 years. Now Sergey tries to take the SLC in the winery rent for 25 years for perennial plants.

It was on this site and have created a “breeding farm” with organic berries. The first crop of recaptured expenses

Berry first appeared in the economy in 2015, once mastered part of the area of the purchased plots. There planted hectares of raspberries, a hectare of strawberries, blueberries and currants, to figure out what to do next. “It’s such a small margin, but at the same time it gives an understanding of how to work with these cultures and to feel the market”, — says Sergey.

But the first real harvest of blueberries he finds the one that was collected in 2016, “Then gathered a bit, but remember that everything put on this hectare, up to wells, seedlings, development of land, irrigation, we are repulsed. However, collected themselves”.

What is sustainability in business decisions?

The cultivation of crops such as raspberries and blueberries gives you the ability to diversify the risks and to provide staff with the permanent job because the harvest takes place in different periods. Last year is running again and an apiary of 50 colonies in the future – dairy goat farm.

The first berries were transported to Odessa friends. In principle, all the business he wants them to Odessa as himself Sergey from Odessa, and his family continues to live there.

In the same period, I realized that I needed an organic product. Organic berry is two to three times more expensive than usual. So, the price of regular raspberries in the domestic market is approximately 18 UAH per kg, while organic — about 50 UAH per kg. Approximately the same ratio of prices and on foreign markets. It is the ability to send organic berries for export has attracted Sergei.

Of course, the risks in the production of organic berries is, he says, which is why his farmer-neighbors are not in a hurry to grow organic. First, because time is needed for certification of the plot, and secondly, investing in the purchase of disease resistant varieties and biological products for the treatment of seedlings.

The plot in the forest had got the certificate “Organic standard”. It was fairly easy, because where nothing grew, and then was not chemicals. Went to zero

In the past year, the farm Sergei went to zero, this year he plans to make a profit. The season of berries on the farm ends in October, as everbearing raspberries produce several harvests before the first frost.

To grow organic product, it is advisable to choose disease-resistant varieties because the processing plants can only be resolved biologics. In the fall of 2016 Sergei, the area planted in the forest, the first three acres of organic raspberries, and in 2017 received the first harvest. The rest prepared 17 hectares of land planted corn, which was conceived as a fertilizer for the soil. “But we decided that we weren’t going to bury the harvest and take the grain. Of the 17 hectares received 22 tons of organic corn”, — says Sergey.

Began to farm with six people — family members. Now add five permanent employees and a seasonal draw for harvest. Per kilogram of harvested blueberries pay 10 UAH. According to the businessman, the day you can earn on blueberry on average 400-500 UAH, and on raspberries and strawberries — 300-400 UAH.

Currants Sergei thinks not to grow. Said that hand harvesting is expensive, and to collect the harvester do not work, because the harvester is too expensive for such a small area. Bringing buys

Now the main place of sales collected berries — wholesale Privoz. Earlier Sergey tried to sell the berries in a trading network, in particular, the Odessa network “Glutton”, but was disappointed. “The network can not work with “new shelf”, because consumers buy berries not in the cold chain (refrigerators-refrigerators), and just on the supply,i.e., reduce the time of preservation of berries. They failed me: ordered half a ton of strawberries, but not bought, refused, when it was brought, so the more we don’t cooperate with them,” says the farmer to his unsuccessful experience of cooperation with retail chains.

Organic raspberries are taken to the winery to factories, for example “Frukton”, where they freeze it and then export.

In addition to the berries the farm has an apiary, whose honey has already been certified organic and now.

Propel themselves across the page in Facebook, is preparing soon to launch a website. To promote the brand Sergey is actively involved in thematic activities related to organic production. In the future — their production and ecotourism

The plans for Sergei to make products from existing raw materials, such as yogurt or cheese, which are Packed in a organic wax from organic bees. For this is the milk, berries and honey. He’s going to build on its territory a full-fledged base for ecotourism, lodges, overnight on the hives.

“I want the citizens to rest, because they all want to lead a healthy lifestyle and eat right honey, come with kids to pick berries, milk a goat”.

Last year, he received a grant of 25 thousand euros to film tunnels (greenhouses) project business development horticulture UHBDP invested GAC (Global Affairs Canada). Just grant provides 50 thousand euros, but the second half we will return when we will fully implement the project,” he said.

The biggest problem Sergey calls the refusal of banks from lending. “Even for the same grant project are not easy to find 50 thousand euros. All banks first cry out that there are loans, but then it turns out that we are too young or too small business”, — says the entrepreneur.

However, despite the difficulties, Sergei’s plans this fall to start on the farm to implement a project of growing organic berries in plastic tunnels. According to the farmer, in Ukraine, this yet no one does. And its making our first use of this innovative technology.

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