With no previous knowledge, experience or money, Ukranian garlic company Patriot was started by Nataliya Sudarkina and a friend back in 2008. The friends had only 25 ha of land without any communications, equipment or machinery. They got a loan from the bank against their 2 apartments and went to work.
"We only had losses in the first few years; the cabbage rotted, the onions were eaten by pests, even the carrots, which we finally managed to grow, were so cheap that it wasn't enough to cover our costs. We couldn't sell anything and nobody wanted to talk to us. But those years were very valuable. We gained experience and knowledge and understood how to make this business profitable. Now I know that if you want to be successful, you must be the best, along with a strategy and a big idea." says co-founder Nataliya.
Patriot now has 45 ha in the Odessa region and garlic has become the company's main specialization. The company uses modern drip irrigation techniques. They have French and Spanish machines, calibration equipment, and state-of-the-art Japanese tractors.
The company supplies the major Ukrainian supermarket chains and since 2014, also exports to Canada, Belarus and Russia.
Alongside growing the product themselves, they also run joint farming projects with other farmers, providing them with garlic seeds, machinery and advisory services.
The company finds themselves in a great position as domestic production does not currently cover demand. According to UkrGosstat (State Statistic Service of Ukraine), Ukraine had imported more than 4,000 tons of fresh garlic from China back in 2014.
Along with working to fulfil the gap in domestic supply, the company is also looking to expand and find new partners in other markets for their products.
The company believes that the strong and spicy flavour, with a rich aroma of Ukrainian garlic is something that sets them apart from the garlic imported from major producers such as Spain and China. The garlic also has the potential to yield up to 14-16 tons per hectare with certain varieties once the proper technologies and drip irrigation practices are in place.
Patriot sends out fresh garlic to all of its current markets, but they would also like to introduce their peeled garlic cloves, dried garlic and garlic paste for export. At the moment, these products are only supplied to domestic supermarkets, along with their traditional pickled garlic.
"We currently sell the largest part of our harvest to the Ukraine, but I believe that Ukrainian garlic can take a worthy place in the global market, and we expect to see more exports in the near future." concludes Nataliya.
For more information:
Tel: +38 067 488 6402