War time berry growing and processing conference in Rivne, Ukraine

Berry business in Ukraine. Results of 2023 and plans for 2023.

VI International Charity scientific-applied conference "Berry growing and procession in war times" was successfully conducted in Rivne on 16-16 February 2023. More than 300 participants from Ukraine and Poland attended the event. Among the exhibitors of the exhibition zone there were about 40 suppliers of planting materials, technologies and agronomic solutions. Various delicious berry-based products were available for degustation for all participants of the conference: juice, wine, jam, candied fruits. marmalade, cheese etc.  

All-Ukrainian Congress on cold logistics and procession of the berries was organized together with the conference.

Berry conference Rivne
Berry conference, Rivne. Fresh Forward and Yagidnyi Ray
Berry conference, Ukraine
Berry conference, Ukraine

video reports from the conference:


Congress on berry freezing:


More information in Ukrainian: http://www.jagodnik.info/ukrayinske-yagidnytstvo-v-umovah-voyennogo-stanu/

At the beginning of the conference, the prospects for the development of Ukrainian berry growing in 2023 under martial law were outlined by the president of the Ukrainian Fruit and Vegetable Association, Taras BASHTANNYK, who expressed forecasts, analyzed prices, and the export situation. Thus, the expert noted that the year 2022 passed under the sign of raspberries, and, according to preliminary estimates, the volume of exports of frozen raspberries will reach 30-35 thousand tons. Less strawberries, according to the speaker, was supplied to the market due to the lack of supplies from the south of Ukraine. Therefore, prices in the fresh market were high, which, in turn, reduced processing volumes.

Without a doubt, 2022 was a difficult year. Every enterprise from the berry sector of Ukraine worked hard to stay operational. But what will the 2023 season be like? According to Iryna KUKHTINA, the president of the association "Berries of Ukraine", the next season  2023 frightens our enterprises even more. According to her, there are several reasons for worrying. First, this is due to the power outage problems that started late last year. Secondly, many companies exported the remains of frozen berries abroad, and not all of these production volumes are now contracted. There are problems with the sale of frozen berries of the 2022 season at reasonable prices, so the issue of financing the 2023 season will also be complicated.

The detailes obout the berry season 2022, perspectives for 2023 as well as about Ukraine's participation in international exhibitions read in the interview below:

Berry business in Ukraine. Results-2022

According to the president of the association "Berries of Ukraine", in the 2022 season, mostly only those companies that ordered planting material before the war and had to plant it expanded their berry plantations.

At the same time, part of the companies, with the areas  to be replaced or who planned increas of planatations, postponed their decisions for an indefinite period and used those areas for annual crops, in particular vegetables, - said Iryna Kukhtina. - In general, in 2022 season the companies survives on the previous year's achievements. But our companies are much more afraid of the next season, because there are problems with unstable electricity supply. In addition, some companies exported the rest of their berries abroad, and the information that despite the war, Ukraine increased raspberry exports, is not entirely correct. Because we are talking, in particular, about these exported their stock, most of which, when exported, were drawn up as sales contracts, but in fact far from all of them are now contracted...

Adapting to current realities, all enterprises work differently. According to Iryna Kukhtina, most of them buy generators and also try to ensure a stable power supply for the season in other ways. After all, if there is no electricity and irrigation, then the plantations will simply die. Therefore, everyone adapts as best they can. For example, some processing enterprises work in night shifts.

In connection with the cancellation of state funding for development programs, in particular, horticulture, viticulture and hops, grant programs for Ukrainian enterprises were implemented in the country with the support of Western partners. They were implemented through the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine. These programs have greatly helped manufacturers, but not everyone has been able to use them.

In the 2022 season, the problem, in particular, was that these grants were aimed at the creation of new plantations, instead, they were not at all focused on supporting already existing enterprises that already create jobs that must be preserved, said the president of the association "Berries of Ukraine ".

According to her, some of the enterprises purchased equipment last year, since the pre-payments were made before the war, the suppliers did not agree to break the contracts or freeze them. Therefore, the enterprises installed several sorting lines for blueberries, unfortunately, without receiving any help from the state.

We really hope that this year these grants will be more focused on existing enterprises and the number of working enterprises that will use the grant programs will increase. After all, when we support existing companies, we support existing workplaces and companies that already have experience and know how to work. That is, the risks of working with such enterprises are much smaller, Iryna Kukhtina said.

Another factor in favor of supporting existing enterprises is that, due to the fall in domestic demand and the decrease in the purchasing power of the population, more and more manufacturers are trying to export. And to work in foreign markets, you must have experience, which is not always available in newly created companies.

That is why the association "Berries of Ukraine" is now fruitfully cooperating with the Ministry of Agrarian Policy, the Office for the Development of Entrepreneurship and Export, and international donor organizations in the direction of export development. In particular, in 2022, we were helped by the USAID program "Competitive Economy of Ukraine", the German project "German-Ukrainian Agricultural Policy Dialogue" (APD), the International Trade Center (ITC) with the support of the Swedish government, the management of the FRUIT LOGISTICA exhibition, as well as our other friends and partners. Also, the association works a lot in the direction of consulting and providing organizational assistance in personnel matters, booking employees and disseminating information about available grant opportunities. Unfortunately, all planned trainings had to be canceled, because now companies are more focused on survival, Iryna Kukhtina said.

According to her, with the beginning of the war, there were fears that all plans, including participation in international exhibitions, would be canceled.- But in fact, we were able to attend all the events that we planned. We have increased the number of association members to 67 companies. The association's collective stand was present at the FRUIT LOGISTICA and BIOFACH exhibitions, whose organizers were very supportive. For example, FRUIT LOGISTICA provided us with a stand for free. At BIOFACH, German colleagues helped with financing, and at SIAL we were supported by the USAID project "Competitive Economy of Ukraine" and the International Trade Center with funding from the Swedish government. In total, more than 20 berry companies took part in these events.

Berry business in Ukraine. Plans for 2023

According to Iryna Kukhtina, 2023 is starting quite actively for berry companies of Ukraine. In particular, in February we were present at the FRUIT LOGISTICA exhibition, and we will also visit BIOFACH and GULFOOD, and in autumn we plan to participate in the ANUGA exhibition. We had plans to expand the list of exhibitions, but now we are actively looking for opportunities to do this, because many enterprises that were previously exhibitors at these events have gone into economy mode and are now going to these events as visitors or do not plan to visit them at all.

At the FRUIT LOGISTICA exhibition, the association "Berries of Ukraine" participated together with the International Trade Center (ITC) project funded by the Swedish government, and at BIOFACH there will be a joint stand of Ukraine. In particular, it will be organized by the Office for Enterprise and Export Development in partnership with the Berries of Ukraine association, as well as with the support of many donors: the EU and the German government through the EU4Business: Competitiveness and Internationalization of SMEs program in partnership with GIZ Ukraine, EBRD with financing Switzerland, the Swiss-Ukrainian programs Quality FOOD Trade Program and "Organic trade for development in Eastern Europe" (OT4D) of IFOAM - Organics International and the project "German-Ukrainian cooperation in the field of organic agriculture" (COA). Thus, 24 Ukrainian companies will be presented at the BIOFACH exhibition, 7 of which are from the berry sector.

We will also participate at GULFOOD together with the ITC project funded by the Swedish government, there will be an association stand at which we will represent other Ukrainian companies in absentia. Therefore, if someone takes part in these exhibitions in absentia, we can provide such an opportunity," - said the president of the association "Berryies of Ukraine" Iryna Kukhtina.

Source in Ukrainian: http://www.jagodnik.info/ukrayinske-yagidnytstvo-2022-korotko-pro-osnovne/