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Ukraine's vegetable price surge: the role of professional storage and processing

In Ukraine, vegetable prices have surged dramatically, yet stories of farmers giving away their produce for free occasionally make headlines. Andriy Marushchak, the Commercial Director of Van Dijk Technics, sheds light on this paradox, emphasising the importance of professional vegetable storage equipment.

Farmers often find themselves unable to influence market prices. For instance, prices plummet when the market is flooded with subpar onions. However, high-quality onions stored under proper conditions command higher prices. This is where professional storage equipment plays a critical role, ensuring that produce remains in good condition for extended periods, unlike amateur storage systems.

The farmer who managed to sell high-quality onions at EUR 0.58 per kilogram significantly increased his profits and demonstrated the advantages of using professional storage equipment. In contrast, those who skimped on equipment had to sell their produce at much lower prices or even give it away for free.

Unfortunately, many Ukrainian farmers are reluctant to invest in professional storage systems, opting instead for cheaper alternatives that fail to provide adequate conditions. As a result, they incur substantial losses due to selling their produce at low prices or losing it altogether. Marushchak stresses that professional equipment can pay for itself within a year, whereas amateur systems may not recoup their costs even in a decade.

Additionally, the development of vegetable farming in Ukraine should focus not only on cultivation and storage but also on processing. The export of vegetables from Ukraine will not have significant potential shortly due to the low profitability of raw material exports, according to Andriy Marushchak.

Last year, Ukrainian farmers could not import enough high-quality potato seeds. If this issue persists, there will be a seed shortage next year as well. The Ukrainian Institute of Potato Research has developed excellent potato varieties, but their supply does not meet farmers' needs. The private company "Chernihiv Elite Potato" also faces funding problems despite having a well-organized production process.

A major issue is also the uncontrolled cultivation of potatoes in private households, which complicates the development of professional seed production. Effective seed cultivation requires spatial isolation, which is nearly impossible to achieve in Ukraine.


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