Never Give Up: An Enterprise in the East of Ukraine Rebuilds Network and Help Local Farmers Survive

Speeches Shim

Thursday, October 31, 2019
Meat processing at Miasne Remeslo facility in Mariupol
Photo creadit: Iryna Khomenko, USAID Agriculture and Rural Development Support activity

The ongoing conflict in Eastern Ukraine has created significant challenges for small- and medium-sized agricultural businesses in the region, including those producing and processing meat. Since 2014, cattle and pig production has decreased by 44 percent at commercial farms and by 23 percent in private households in Donetsk Oblast.

Miasne Remeslo, an enterprise established in Mariupol in 2004, has faced substantial complications as a result of the crisis. The company lost its facilities near the conflict, including a pig breeding facility. It also lost its traditional raw meat suppliers, as many partner farms remained within the territory not controlled by the Ukrainian government, and its traditional sales markets. Furthermore, the company frequently faced disruptions to its normal operations due to weakened infrastructure, such as damaged roads.

Having to rebuild its entire chain from suppliers to markets, Miasne Remeslo turned for help to the USAID Agriculture and Rural Development Support (ARDS) activity, implemented by Chemonics International. ARDS decided to support the enterprise recognizing its potential success in overcoming challenges could also positively affect a number of local small raw meat producers.

The ARDS project co-invested with Miasne Remeslo to upgrade meat processing and sausage producing equipment at its facility in Mariupol, and supported the enterprise in introducing HACCP food safety standards for its cattle and pig breeding processes. ARDS support allowed the company to increase its product range and quality, meet more stringent food safety requirements, and expand sales markets to other regions of Ukraine.

In its turn, the enterprise began monitoring its suppliers’ implementation of safety and traceability requirements. Miasne Remeslo successfully passed an audit by Silpo, one of the biggest trading networks in Ukraine, and consequently started selling its products to five Silpo supermarkets in Zaporizhzhya. Additionally, Miasne Remeslo started cooperation with distributors to sell products in two more cities. Miasne Remeslo now provides opportunities to local small meat suppliers to sustainably sell their products to Miasne Remeslo for processing and to plan for longer-term business development as they now have a stable buyer. The enterprise has already increased the number of its suppliers from five to fifteen, and plans to reach 25 by the end of 2020.

Miasne Remeslo is eager to actively cooperate with farmers, even providing them cash for development. For example, the company provided financial assistance to LLC Starchenkovsky Meat Products (20,000 hryvnia, or about $800), in the form of a loan which the farm can pay back by supplying raw meat. This enabled the farm to reconstruct its facilities for young pigs by equipping it with warm floors and improving the feeding system. In turn, Miasne Remeslo has a guaranteed supply of quality raw meat from a local producer, which reaffirms the company’s slogan, “Made with local products.”

In addition to financial assistance, Miasne Remeslo rents its equipment, purchased with ARDS co-financing, to local farmers, which allows farmers to produce and sell their own meat products in addition to raw meat that they sell to Miasne Remeslo.“We are not afraid of raising up competitors to our enterprise. On the contrary, we are happy to help our farmer neighbors. It is our contribution to our region’s development; it assures the future growth of our own enterprise,” says Lyubov Taran, Miasne Remeslo’s Deputy Director.