The Ukraine Report: Ukrainian cherry grower can’t get seeds because of war occupation

The Ukrainian war has led to specialty crop producers not being able to get the seeds they need.

Latifundist Media has partnered with us to provide boots-on-the-ground coverage:

The development of the horticulture industry in Ukraine is given considerable attention. The most efficient gardens that used to supply Ukraine and beyond have been under occupation for almost 18 months, so other regions are stepping up in this field. One of them is the Rivne region in the west of the country.

Vadym Bortnyk, the owner of the Sady Polissia farm, ventured into even more orchards. The farmer has 5 hectares of hazelnuts and 10 hectares of cherries.

“I am a software developer by profession, but I have always been drawn to the land. My parents worked in an agricultural company all their lives and I spent my childhood there. I have my own apiary for over 10 years. And gardening goes well with beekeeping. That’s why 5 years ago I quit programming and became a gardener.”

This is the only farmer in the Rivne region who grows cherries.

“Cherries are a national Ukrainian product. We grow cherries, and we can also buy them from people to supply the processing plants located nearby.”

The garden was planted mechanically. It took 2 years to prepare the area. The young garden was laid out in 2022.

“We need 3,000 to 5,000 seedlings to plant a garden. We bought Ukrainian saplings from the Institute of Horticulture of the National Academy of Agrarian Sciences of Ukraine. But the trouble is that the largest nurseries of certified cherry seedlings are located near Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine and have been completely devastated by the occupiers. The invasion has brought huge problems with sowing material, not to mention other issues.”

The first cherry harvest is due next year. And the first hazelnut harvest for sale will come along with it. Two years ago, the farmer received a grant from the state to plant a hazelnut orchard.

“I needed a land plot with a 7-year lease. I made a garden design for the crop I wanted to grow. In our case, it was hazelnuts. This year, I plan to apply for another grant. This time, to finance an irrigation system for the hazelnut orchard.”
The plan is to plant another 5 hectares of hazelnuts here to fulfill their dream of processing and producing hazelnuts filled with honey under the Sady Polissia brand.

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.