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Ukrainian tomato growers investing in greenhouses and new varieties
Modern tomato greenhouse production is on the rise in Ukraine and many of the international seed companies, like Syngenta and Kitano Seeds, have been seeing the potential as well. Kitano Seeds recently held a seminar, on 2 June, introducing exclusive vegetable hybrids and Syngenta Seeds has opened a Research and Demonstration center for greenhouse production. The Demo Center offers the opportunity for growers to get acquainted with the latest innovations and have the opportunity to delve deeper by having the opportunity to inspect plants, taste the produce, communicate with experts and get answers to their questions.
According to Andrew Tkach, field manager for Syngenta, “It takes an investment of more than 1 million dollars to create 1 hectare of greenhouses, so the growth in glass greenhouse production demonstrates the stability in the area. The area producing winter greenhouses has grown to almost 130 hectares and cucumber is almost three times as large, with 350 hectares. Cucumbers continue to dominate greenhouse production in post-Soviet countries.”
Just a few years ago, many didn’t see the potential of growing pink and yellow tomatoes, but views are quickly changing. More and more growers are looking into exclusive hybrids for cocktail tomatoes, cherry, yellow, pink, on the vine, blue and black, finding that they are much more profitable. As of 2 June, the price of cocktail tomatoes in the local wholesale market was €2.27 / kg, while the red medium fruits and beefs cost €0.75-0.81/kg, and pink -€0.87-0.94 /kg.
A large number of open ground producers in the west and the center of Ukraine are making the switch to film greenhouses. The total covered area has reached 10,000 hectares, with cucumbers making up a majority of production, followed by tomatoes, with peppers and other vegetables making up the remainder.
"Farmers are looking for new directions, interesting niche markets that would distinguish their products from among a wide range of other products and bring profits. Cherry and cocktail tomatoes are, first and foremost, profitable crops. These are earning cultures but they are more expensive than classic tomatoes. This is why our seed offering is growing with the needs of producers, offering new and promising hybrids," said Tetyana Kovach, manager of Kitano Seeds.
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