Niche Cultures: Additional Work in Exchange for Profit

2018 Jan 12

Currently, the majority of farmers who are cultivating niche cultures are aimed at external markets. They pay a lot of attention to the quality of their products as well as to its batch sales. Though, all the troubles related to the cultivation of such cultures are compensated by their high profitability which makes them highly attractive in particular for small farmers.

Cultivation of berries is advantageous for the internal market as well

According to the Ukrainian Food Export Board, 25% of Eastern European soft berries (strawberries, currant, raspberry, etc.) and 10% of hard berries (cherry, black cherry, etc.) are produced in Ukraine. The export also increases steadily but still remains modest – around 6% and 3% accordingly. It’s explained by the fact that transportation of berries requires additional carefulness and due to their high profitability on the internal market farmers don’t see the reasons to complicate the production process. Raspberry, blueberry, and current are becoming more and more widespread while the area planted with black cherry and strawberries isn’t growing.

Oleic flax is easily cultivated and is profitable in terms of export

According to Irina Kostiushko the deputy head of the agricultural company «Zorya», the cultivation of oleic flax doesn’t require substantial investments: three years in a row expenditures per 1 hectare didn’t exceed $288, while the profitability amounted to 47%. In 2017 1 ton of oleic flax cost 10,000 UAH. Furthermore, the flax is resistant to drought and thus can be cultivated practically throughout the whole of Ukraine.

Though, in case you want to reap real benefits from flax cultivation adjust your production process to the export purposes from the very beginning, as Ukraine lacks flax processing capacity. At the same time, the export batch should be large as the export fee is quite high in Ukraine.

Nevertheless, such expenses are compensated by high profitability of this crop: in accordance with the new regulations, European vehicle manufacturers should make seats’ upholstery from natural fiber which can be obtained from oleic flax.

Niche culture of ukrainian crops

Sorgo is another drought-proof crop

Farmers who want to engage in the production of drought-proof niche cultures should consider sorgo: its production and export in Ukraine steadily increase due to the high demand in Africa and Pakistan. Nutrient substances of corn and sorgo are quite similar while the last one is cheaper.  

Garlic cultivation requires paying attention to the appearance of the product   

Last year Ukraine produced 188’000 tons of garlic while exported only 200 tons. Andriy Marchenko, the head of the Association of Garlic Producers claims that we can compete with China and Spain - global export leaders of this culture. Though in order to make this happen Ukrainian farmers have to improve the appearance of the product: the diameter of the garlic bulb should be around 5 centimeters, it should have uncut roots and be packaged in nets. Furthermore, such garlic should be exported in large shipments. In order to be able to collect large batches, Ukrainian producers are trying to create cooperatives.

Due to a number of unfavorable conditions, the cultivation of cabbage in Ukraine may suffer

Arable lands designated for the cultivation of white cabbage are shrinking which can lead to the lowest production output within last 5 years. It’s forecasted that in 2017/2018 marketing year the bulk harvest of white cabbage will decrease by 8% in comparison with last year. The situation is also aggravated by unfavorable weather conditions. Furthermore, already harvested cabbage can be affected by thrips.

Niche culture of ukrainian crop production in 2016

Farmers have to consider cultivation of niche cultures in order to increase their profits

There are 32 thousand small farms in Ukraine. Approximately half of them operate land plots of 20 to 100 hectares in size. 82 hectares is the average size of the small farm. On average, owners of such farms generate 11’000 UAH in revenue and 3’000 UAH in profit per hectare. Thus, a standard small farmer gains around 246 hectares per year. Nevertheless, they have a big growth potential.

Olga Hodakivska, the head of the department at the University of Agrarian Economy stated that when choosing the specialization, small-scale farmers should consider those niches where the demand is permanently growing and which can ensure high profit – from 30’000 to 100’000 UAH per 1 hectare. In the nearest future, such profit may be generated by niche cultures and organic products.

The main problems farmers face with niche cultures are related to the lack of experience in their cultivation. Even though the cultivation of such cultures requires more efforts, they are also more profitable.

In order to achieve success in the cultivation of niche cultures, farmers have to concentrate on the quality of the product rather than its quantity. In order to achieve it, as well as to collect big batches of products for retail and export, farmers should create cooperatives and associations. This will allow them to gain adequate and stable profit for the production of highly demanding cultures. The earlier Ukrainian producers of niche cultures will start to unite and act as a team, the faster they will establish themselves on external markets.

Agro Business


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