The Ukraine Report: Former athlete turned farmer knows the importance of nutrition

A former athlete turned farmer knows a thing or two about proper nutrition.

Andriy Solomonyuk is a young man from the village of Tetiiv in Kyiv region. All his life he was fond of sports.

When the question of choosing a profession arose, he had no doubts and started working as a fitness trainer. But later, he became interested in farming. As an athlete, the man understood the importance of proper and high-quality nutrition.

That’s how Andriy became interested in poultry and sheep farming, and for a year he combined two jobs.

“I got up early in the morning and went to work in the gym. After the working day, I went to the village, where I raised chickens and sheep. Eventually, it became difficult to combine everything, so I decided to develop only the agricultural business. Gave up lamb and concentrated on chicken. So far, in 3.5 years of work, we have built five chicken coops. Today we are repairing the sixth. We have 110,000 chickens, and the total annual stock is 700,000.”

The first sales of products at Tetiiv Farm were through acquaintances and at wholesale markets. Then demand grew and the question arose of opening a chain of stores for selling fresh meat. According to Andriy Solomonyuk, this is what gives confidence in the freshness and availability of products for the consumer.

“At first I wanted to cooperate with large retail chains. However, some stores place a rather high markup on products. It is important to me that every Ukrainian should be able to afford my chicken. That’s why I decided to open stores in Kyiv. Now there are already two of them. We sell not only fresh meat there but also smoked chicken and sausage, which we produce in our workshops. We also buy pork and turkey from partners”

Currently, Andriy Solomonyuk plans to open a third store selling his products in the village of Kyiv region, where his farm is located. A workshop for the production of sausage products, marinating and smoking meat has already been built there.

“We are developing all the time. Very soon, we will have a new chicken coop designed for 20,000 chickens. This chicken coop is fully automated, and only one person will be involved in its maintenance. We are also building a chicken coop, which will be designed for 30,000 chickens. Its opening is planned for April 2024. Our task is to scale, automate and increase the number of jobs in our village with decent pay for workers”

The young farmer also manages to grow in partnership projects — these are investments in raising meat cattle, pigs and turkeys.

“I am not afraid to invest in agriculture in Ukraine. We need to combine forces to produce more, to have better logistics and a larger assortment. We are currently setting up veal processing, which will be sold through our stores in Kyiv and the region.”

That report was powered by Latifundist Media, with USAID support provided through Agriculture Growing Rural Opportunities (AGRO) Activity implemented in Ukraine by Chemonics International. For more information, visit their website or follow them on social media.