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Timсu Oleg: “In agriculture, one mistake costs a lot and can affect the entire crop”.

Interview with Oleg Timcu, Microinvest client, owner of the Timcu Oleg farm.

We visited the town of Glodeni when the cherry orchards were in bloom and bees were buzzing around, pollinating the fragrant white flowers. Everyone in the area knows the orchards of Oleg Timcu, an experienced entrepreneur and farmer. 70% of his fruit is exported abroad to countries like Russia, Belarus, and Romania.

Most recently, he began practicing organic farming by entering into a partnership with a Moldovan company to develop this kind of farming.  Oleg has a very interesting story, and he showed with his example that it is possible to engage in modern agriculture in Moldova as well.  With Microinvest’s financial support, he has managed to develop his farming, modernize harvesting methods from different varieties of trees, and crops and profiled himself both in the Moldovan market and abroad.

Where did it all start?

I inherited my love of farming from my father.  He laid the foundations of our farming by planting our first apple orchard. I continued his work.  I started like other farmers in our country, with no experience, but with a great desire to discover all the potentialities of our fertile soil. Every year I learned something new about proper tree care. In agriculture, one mistake costs a lot and can affect your entire crop.  Today we have over 40 hectares of cherry, plum, merry, and apricot orchards. Besides, we grow crops like sunflower, corn, wheat, barley, and even soybeans.

What are the challenges of growing fruit, and how did you choose your main crops?

Each year I experimented with new varieties of fruit trees so that eventually, I gave up apples and focused entirely on stone fruit varieties. When we were growing only apple orchards, we also planted a few cherry trees to understand the growing and care methods. In our area, stone fruit varieties give very good yields if they are cared for properly. In the case of apple orchards, additional investment in irrigation and hail protection is needed to produce a quality crop, both in flavor and caliber.  It’s easier with stone fruit varieties.  They make water reserves in the winter so they can bear fruit in the spring and summer. Over the years, I’ve tried my hand with other crops as well. Some time ago, I grew watermelons, which were sold in a large chain of hypermarkets.

We all know that you have to work hard in agriculture.  How do you manage to get all your work done on time and successfully complete the farming season?

From the beginning, I intended to plant large areas to provide jobs for the people of our region.  Currently, we have 8 permanent employees and 30 seasonal employees.  Growing stone fruit varieties allows us to offer people work throughout the summer season.  When harvesting, sometimes up to 100 workers are needed.  It allows people to make financial reserves for the entire year.  We do the work we need, and they have a source of income.

We know that you are one of the few entrepreneurs in Moldova who do organic farming.  Tell us a little bit about this method and how it differs from traditional agriculture?

It’s true, in addition to growing fruit, we do organic farming.  We grow organic corn and soybeans.  We have a partnership agreement with a company that specializes in supplying certified organic seeds.  Organic farming differs from traditional farming by lack of interference in plant growth with synthetic chemicals and chemical fertilizers, but naturally providing the plants with the micro- and macronutrients they need. As a fertilizer, we use plant residues that we collect, shred, and mulch.  They decompose throughout the year and provide the plants with all the organic matter they need to develop healthy crops. Soil is like a living organism; chemicals and fertilizers suppress beneficial bacteria and reduce their quality. Organic fertilizers, on the other hand, structure the soil and make it more fertile.

How did you learn about Microinvest and how did your collaboration begin?

I learned about Microinvest in 2016. I needed financial support and I analyzed of all banks and non-bank credit institutions in Moldova.  The Microinvest team was the most receptive to my situation.  Banks are sometimes too pedantic about small businesses, especially when it comes to the agri segment.  Microinvest offers an individual approach to each client – flexible, open and responsible.  There are good years in agriculture, when you can pay off all the loans and still have a high income. But there are also difficult years when nature is not on our side and not everything goes as we planned. In these difficult times, it is very important that lending institutions understand this specific and were next to the farmers, overcoming all obstacles together.

Microinvest is the only NCO in Moldova with the SMART international quality certificate.  This certificate confirms a responsible and transparent lending process based on international customer service principles.

What are your plans?

Microinvest has helped me realize many of my plans already.  With its financial support, we were able to buy modern tillage equipment (tractor, shredder), take advantage of special offers from partners, invest in planting new gardens (by purchasing seedlings, seeds, fertilizers) and even buy new farming lands.  I have other plans that I am sure I will be able to carry out with these partners. I’m thinking about building my own sorting and packing line, maybe even a canning plant or production of dried fruit. Another plan on my list is to build a fruit brandy factory in Moldova.  In my work, I follow the Keynesian multiplier theory, according to which, thanks to small businesses, other industries develop, contributing to the economic development of the entire country.


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