Interview within the framework of the “Microinvest – a responsible lender” campaign with Vladimir Seregov, co-owner of the “Scolnic Simion” peasant household.

Hello, Vladimir. When I received your contact details, I was notified that you are in charge of growing vegetables in greenhouses…

Yes, it is our field of activity. Four years ago, with my friend, with whom we worked for quite a long time abroad, we understood that we wanted a change. I inherited agricultural land from my grandmother and decided to invest in the construction of a modern greenhouse for growing vegetables. That’s how it all started.

Considering the results you have today, the decision was a good one, wasn’t it?

We certainly began our small business in agriculture with a good start, and the results motivated us to grow. From the first year, I understood that investments in agriculture are profitable, so after a thorough analysis, I also requested the first credits. It was at this stage that we started working together with Microinvest to purchase agricultural land and necessary equipment. It is a pleasure to work with them, they are very responsible and reliable. Most importantly, everything is fast and secure, without much red tape.

What did you manage to do for 4 years?

Today we have half a hectare of greenhouses and three hectares of open fields. In the future, we plan to build even more greenhouses, and now we are working on a rather “exotic” project for our country – the construction of an underground greenhouse.

“Eh! Really? Is there something like that? How does it differ from an ordinary greenhouse?

An analogue of this type of greenhouse we saw in the village of Parcani, Transnistria. Outside it was minus 10 degrees Celsius, and inside the greenhouse, which at that time was not warming, it was plus 5 degrees. The principle of functioning is similar to a thermos, constructed to keep heat inside. If for heating an ordinary greenhouse, we use 300 kg of coal every day, for an underground greenhouse we’ll need 50 kg maximum.

What are its dimensions?

Our greenhouse will be 30 meters in length, 13 meters in width, and 2.2 meters in depth.

What vegetables do you plan to grow there?

We want to have ripe tomatoes for New Year and Christmas, and it’s a new variety for us. In addition to vegetables, we want to grow seedlings.

What crops do you specialize in at the moment?

The agricultural year for us begins in March, when we grow Peking cabbage, which we harvest in May. The next cycle in the same greenhouse is bell peppers, known as ‘gogosari’. They are ready to harvest in August. I chose this variety for a reason. In Moldova, few are engaged in the cultivation of gogosari. This is the case when a bag with bell peppers can have the same cost as a tractor with other types of vegetables. However, growing gogosari is quite painstaking. Each pepper plant should be tied up with a thread with a special knot, which should be periodically changed. This plant can exceed the height of 1.5 meters from the ground. In return, when the harvest is ready, we gather very quickly and advantageously. Investments of time and resources are fully redeemed.

Did the pandemic and the quarantine period somehow affect your harvest?

In spring, when the state of emergency began in our country, sales of the Peking cabbage crop fell sharply. People were afraid to go shopping. We had to sell it for half the price. In return, the harvest of gogosari covered practically all our spring losses. There has never been such a good price as this year.

Are you happy with the change made?

Certainly, yes! Greenhouses are not an easy task. They require much work and dedication. If you relax a little, you can lose everything but the beautiful results we have managed to reach motivate us to move forward. They helped us grow our business as well as the LAG project grants for farmers. Due to this grant, we invested only MDL 30,000 to purchase a boiler for the greenhouse, the remaining MDL 70,000 we got through the grant.

What are your plans for the future?

Undoubtedly, we will continue our collaboration with Microinvest. We will complete the construction of the underground greenhouse and build other new greenhouses. The internal market in Moldova is growing and this is what we enjoy. At present, demand practically exceeds the harvest, so we have room to expand.

Pavel Zingan

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