The ITС Project beneficiaries shared their experience at AgroPro Forum

The third specialized agricultural forum “AgroPro” was held in Zaporizhzhya in late October. The event was organized by the Business Information Support Center, based on the Zaporizhzhya Chamber of Commerce and Industry, with the support of the EBRD under the EU4Business initiative of the European Union.

The main theme of the event was “Strength in cooperation”. The AgroPro Forum was attended by owners and top managers of small and medium-sized enterprises in the agricultural sector, production and processing, trade, services and other sectors of the economy.

The forum was held in the format of panel discussions on topics such as the current trends of cooperatives, financial instruments, tax and legal aspects, smart technologies and others.

The National Manager of ITC Project in Ukraine “Linking Ukrainian SMEs in the Fruits and Vegetables Sector to Global and Domestic Markets and Value Chains” Alyona Kolomoytseva presented at the forum the features and benefits of joint participation of SMEs of the fruit and vegetable sector in international trade fairs.

The ITС Project beneficiaries from Zaporizhzhya also spoke about their experience of participation in international trade fairs with the ITC Project.

Foreign Economic Manager Olena Zaslavskaya of Olshansky company (TM Famberry) noted that participation in international trade fairs stimulates the development of their economy.

“International trade fairs are a platform to show yourself. This is very important to us. The ITC Project takes a significant part in organizing and financing international visits, it facilitates the participation of small and medium-sized businesses from Ukraine in large-scale events,” said Olena Zaslavska.

“We need to drive, watch what Europeans buy, what Asia expects from the end product, follow the trends of the markets, and not assume that we are unique and have the best product in the world”, she added.

“All the trips opened something new to us. As a result, we have refined our product, worked on the packaging, labeling and generally positioning it in the foreign market. Therefore, our participation in such events gave a positive result. I would like to recommend to my doubting colleagues – to be bolder, to join the Project, to use its opportunities and initiatives to support small and medium-sized businesses in Ukraine,” said Olena Zaslavska.

Demetralex farm manager Olexandr Orekhin adds that in today’s realities, Ukrainian farmers have no choice but to move to the standards and requirements of the world market. Therefore, participation in international fairs is a requirement of time.

“Today, we cannot work under the scheme “we grew what we wanted and sold”. Today another formula works: “first sold – then grown.” It was after Gulfood when we realized that we needed to go into a niche segment, look for inexpensive logistics options and find the product options that specific customers need. After two international trade fairs, we have completely changed the strategy of our economy,” says Olexandr.

“After the Anuga and Riga Food trade fairs, we found about ten customers with whom detailed negotiations were conducted and agreements were reached with traders to supply organic produce. Next year, we launch the production of this product. In general, the economy’s strategy becomes export-oriented,” comments Demetralex’s head.

“For Ukrainian enterprises that have not participated in international professional trade fairs, I advise to try. However, you should not think all the world is waiting for you and you will be approached immediately by a bunch of clients. It is necessary not to sit still, but to look for contacts, companies, to speak with many participants. Otherwise, participation in the trade show makes no sense. There is a good phrase: “Who wants – is looking for opportunities. Who doesn’t want – justifies it”. When you go to a trade fair, you have to work very hard: both before and after the event. Just an example: one day, a friend and I sat down at a table with exhibitors from Poland, talked and learned that they have a deficiency in organic hops. And we decided that in 2-3 years we would launch an organic hop farm. This is how we found mutually beneficial cooperation,” says Olexandr Orekhin.

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