One of the largest producers of dairy products company in the world owned by Danone opened the strawberry growing in Western Ukraine. The project is based on an existing agricultural service cooperative "Losyatinske Dairy dzherelo" (p. elk, Kremenetskiy district, Ternopil region). The project is being implemented and funded partners, "Danone Ecosystem Fund," the company "Dansors", "Danone Ukraine" and the international charity organization "Dobrobut communities" (Heifer-Ukraine).
The project will combine about 500 owners of private farms in the agricultural cooperative for the production of strawberries and its subsequent wholesale. Co-op will be provided with seedlings, equipment for drip irrigation, cold storage.
The project "Development of strawberry cooperatives" lasts until 2014, investment in the project will amount to 2,000,000 euros.
"The plan is a gradual increase in the acreage of strawberries to 50 hectares — that’s the plan for three years. Investments generally make about two million euros, it means the aggregate of partner companies," — said Gilles Burlo, vice president of procurement of milk "Danone Group".
According to him, the creation of strawberry cooperative will create jobs for local residents, as well as gives an opportunity not only depend on the milk market, which is subject to seasonal fluctuations. "It is beneficial for the community as it will allow them to diversify their activities. They may produce milk, and grow strawberries. And if milk prices will decline, as is the case now, the price of strawberries will play this trend," — said the expert.
The price at which to buy crops in a cooperative Danone, will amount to $ 1.1 per kilogram of strawberries. "This price includes the costs of organizing the collection, cooling, suspension technology," — said the head of the IBA "Dobrobut communities" Viktor Teres. According to him, one of the main advantages of the cooperative is that even at the peak of supply manufacturers to provide a stable demand for their products. "In addition, there is an agreement with the cooperative that they can sell on the open market up to 20% of the crop" — said Viktor Teres.
According to Gilles Burlo, in September 2013 the company will review the results of the strawberry cooperative and will make a decision on its future development. "We will decide — whether we will continue to build up its business here, or expand it to other regions," — concluded Gilles Burlo.