Despite High Demand, Ukrainian Organic Vegetables are Grown only in 7 Greenhouses
95% of organic farmers grow grain and industrial crops, which are easier to produce, store, and transport.
In organic production, field crops are easier to grow, and also to store and transport. Therefore, 95% of organic farmers grow grain and industrial crops. As for greenhouse vegetable growing in the organic production segment, there are only 7 farms in Ukraine that decided to make a business on it. This was reported by the Internet portal SEEDS.org.ua according to Infoindustria.
Such data was reported by Larisa Shedey, a senior researcher at the Institute of Soil Science and Agrochemistry named after A.N. Sokolovsky, during the conference “Agroecology 2018” organized by the UHBDP project.
“All organic greenhouse farmers are faced with a lack of good vegetables for their children. The demand for organic vegetables is very high, but few are produced. Only 7 farms decided to grow organic vegetables in greenhouses,” said Larisa Shedey.
Larisa Shedey collaborates with the Organic Family Farm of Andrey Marchenko, who has been working in the Sumy region for about 16 years. According to her, Organic Family Farm produces cucumber and tomato of very high taste qualities. It enables a company to sell vegetables on the local market in a provincial town with a margin of 50-100% of the market price, and buyers pay more expensive not for an organic certificate, but for taste.
Another producer named FOP Burnaeva L.L. sells organic tomato at a price of 60 UAH/kg in Kharkiv, while in Kyiv a farmer sells tomato at a higher price – 120 UAH/kg.
According to the expert, entering the organic vegetable growing segment is cheaper for indoor use: “Organic certification is worth 20-30 thousand UAH per year, plus 10 thousand UAH is spent on product analysis. Thus, spendings in about 50 thousand UAH per year for a farm are not significant. Investments in the open ground may amount to 500 thousand UAH.”
The availability of roads is a very important factor for organic vegetable producers. “There are regional processing centers for pumpkins and apples, but not for vegetables. The proximity to such centers is a very important aspect for farmers, ” notes Larisa Shedey.
The human factor is also important. “Older agronomists often just don’t believe in organic farming. It is impossible to convince them, they subconsciously can sabotage the work process and provoke problems. Often owners recruit vegetarians, people who are fond of yoga, and lead a healthy lifestyle, and then the team works more successfully. Of course, a decent payment is needed. There is practice on the farms when the salaries of employees are at the level of 1 thousand Euros, only then people don’t go abroad,” said Larisa Shedey.