Small steps, big impact. Growing vegetables in Ukraine

Local solutions for food security. Dunaivtsi cooperation with the Dutch seed companies

Yagidnyi Rai kid with the carrot
Kids in Dunaivtsi help their parents during harvesting

About 40 members of cooperative Yagidnyi Rai in Dunaivtsi community of Khmelnytskyi region have been growing berries for the last years. Working hard, investing in technology, cooperating with donors and investors to scale up and improve quality and logistics.

The war came to Dunaivtsi, a territorial community with population of 37 thousand people, with thousands of those who escaped from Kharkiv, Kyiv, Sumy, Kherson and other regions of Ukraine that were first to meet Russian invasion to Ukraine on 24 February 2022.

Providing people who lost everything in war became a daily challenge for the authorities and volunteers of Dunaivtsi.

Yagidnyi rai kids during harvesting
Kids in Dunaivtsi help their parents during harvesting

Spring and sowing season 2022 brought for locals a new challenge they never expected - food security, not only for their community and its new residents, but also to other regions that will not be able to sow this year due to war.

This is how berry cooperative and local schools with their kitchen gardens became producers of vegetables and potatoes. With the help of the Embassy the boxes with seeds from Enza Zaden Ukraine and RijkZwaan Ukraine arrived to Dunaivtsi already in early March.

Yagidnyi rai Celler with preserved Food
Beeld: Celler with vegetables preserved for winter
Cooperative members get ready for the winter months

The seeds of beets, carrots, cabbage, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, pumpkins, cauliflowers and others have been divided  between cooperative members, local schools and farmers. Then Continental Farmers Group – a company that rents the land plots from the locals – purchased for cooperative sowing machines and provided also with 3,5 tons of Dutch seed potatoes.

Yagidnyi Rai Enza Zaden pumpkins
Pumpkins from the Enza Zaden seeds

“Learning by doing” is a strategy for the locals. Cooperative members, teachers, parents and kids from the schools, internally displaced people who found their new homes in Dunaivtsi, all joint forces to take care of the vegetable fields. Despite of the dry summer and rainy autumn with the agronomic support and hard work they managed to have good yield of vegetables and of course their main crops – berries.

Yagidnyi Rai vegetables for Kherson
Vegetables for the de-occupied regions

This autumn storages of local schools, kindergartens and cooperative members are full with vegetables and hopefully it will be enough till the next season. The community unfortunately does not have a modern vegetable storage. Preparation of project documentation for the construction of a vegetable storage and the search for donors, investors and technical partners has already begun.

Yagidnyi Rai oading of the potatoes
Vegetables sent to deoccupied Kherson, South of Ukraine

The local community and cooperative members regularly send their products to other regions of Ukraine which currently need help. Recently, vegetable from Dunaivtsi were sent to the people of de-occupied Kherson, South of Ukraine.

Small steps, big impact. Stronger together.

Links and contacts

Video of the local channel

Facebook page of Cooperative Yagidnyi Rai:

Dunaivtsi community

Continental Farmers Group: