Together with ITC National Project Manager Alena Kolomoitseva, the delegates from the Embassy of Sweden in Kyiv met SMEs engaged in fruit and vegetable production and processing, and state officials.

Minister Councellor, Head of Development Cooperation of the Swedish Embassy Cecilia Chroona, and the First Secretary, Analyst and Programme Officer, Inclusive Economic Development, of the Embassy of Sweden Elin Carlsson arrived to Kherson as part of a working visit.

Together with ITC National Project Manager Alena Kolomoitseva, the Embassy representatives held several meetings with the small and medium-sized businesses engaged in the production and processing of fruits and vegetables. Also, the they met Kherson region state officials.

During the meeting with the Acting Director of the Department of Agricultural Development and Irrigation of the Kherson Regional State Administration Margaryta Stepanova, they discussed the priority areas for the region development, e.g., increase of area equipped for irrigation, support for processing enterprises to produce value-added products, support for small and medium-sized enterprises and craft producers.

The participants of the meeting raised other issues being urgent for the agro-industrial complex, the role of local authorities in their solution and the impact of international technical support projects on the business development.

Margaryta Stepanova noted the important role of the ITC project, supported by Sweden for five years in a row, to increase the export potential of small and medium-sized enterprises in Kherson and other regions.

The Kherson Chamber of Commerce and Industry hosted a meeting with the Head of the International Interregional Agro-Industrial Cluster of the Kherson Region Eastern Food Technologies Plus and managers of the fruit and vegetable companies being ITC project beneficiaries: Nash Produkt, Ukrainian Sun-dried Tomatoes, Fruit and Vegetable Plant ‘KHERSON’ and Shyroke Cooperative. They discussed the impact of the ITC project on business, areas of further support, results achieved in previous years and the main challenges the business faces today, i.a. access to finance, markets, risky land use, expensive equipment, etc.

“Businesses need to work on diversification. When I became the Director of the Fruit and Vegetable Plant ‘KHERSON’ in 2013, we were not exporting. Over the years of hard work, and due to our cooperation with the ITC project, the situation has changed. We managed to visit Anuga and Gulfood trade fairs. Participation in these shows is a sign of quality and an indicator of good reputation. After all, only experienced, reliable companies can afford it. Participation therein with the support of the ITC project meant free advertising campaign for us, which would normally be too expensive for an average Ukrainian small or medium-sized company. Over the years, export supplies of our company have grown by 40%,” said Oksana Badenko, ex- Director of Fruit and Vegetable Plant ‘KHERSON’.

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