#ЗнамиВАРто is a hashtag of the passing year. On the eve of the new 2022, we decided to start a column about those agricultural producers who are members of our unity. They can tell about experience of work with the UAC and why we should be united. We will talk about their enterprizes’ work, expectations, challenges and views on the situation in the agricultural sector. Today we open a column with Andriy Kapritsa. For 12 years he has been the Chairman of "Flora A.A." AE and has been a member of the UAC for almost a year. The farmer is convinced that "precision farming is not fashionable, but efficient." Read the interview about the digitalization of agriculture, the problems of the agricultural sector and whether its life has changed since the opening of the land market.

Tell us about your farm. What land bank do you cultivate and what crops do you grow?

- Our farm is located in Vinnytsia region, in the zone of unstable humidity (due to the lack of precipitation). Our land bank today is 1,200 hectares, and we started with 50 hectares of land, later I inherited 500 hectares. We grow wheat, corn, sunflower, rapeseed, and this year we also started growing sugar beet.

Is digitalization, precision farming, a whim or the future of the agricultural sector?

- We have introduced precision farming at the farm. Now it would seem "fashionable", but in fact, first of all, it is efficient. All equipment is selected for precision farming and it is new one, modern and made by foreign companies. We update machinery as appropriate, or when something super new appears on the market. For example, we might not have changed our seeder for sowing row crops, but a more technological seeder appeared, which I really liked, and our farm was the first in Ukraine which bought it. We also sometimes make some sudden purchases. It will be added, that we rent our equipment only when it is free. For example, they harvested corn, the weather was good, the combine did not stand, he was leased to people who needed it. Tomorrow we will finish plowing or tillage, and again the equipment will be free, and if it is asked to rent it, why not?

Has your life changed since the opening of the land market?

- Nothing has changed at all. We continue to work under the same conditions. Still there are people who want to sell shares.

What problems, apart from climate change, do farmers face now?

- It is difficult to give an unambiguous answer. For example, if we have certain credit obligations, they are long-term, not planned ones. This year has allowed to relax just a little bit, but I will note at once that this is not what you need to do. We gave a part of loans. Fertilizers and chemicals were bought earlier. If there are problems, they are planned ones, we were ready for them. That means, they are already half solved.

Farmers’ unions, cooperatives, associations in modern realities - just organizations which are only on paper or real help to farmers?

- Again, there is no clear answer. Personally, I participate in many programs, I am a member of the UAC. I see the need for this. This organization solves political and economic issues, provides legal support - this help is significant. Communication is also extremely important for farmers, because all of them has the same problems, as well as market interests that are worth to be discussed. You can “be locked” at your own farm, but who will you be there? Associations have to exist - it is 100% and it is worth uniting.

How long have you been a member of the UAC?

- I have been with the UAC for almost a year. I like the fact that they act preventively, ahead of its time. I remember the mass blocking of tax invoices last year. The UAC took under control this issue. Thanks to the UAC, our company’s tax invoices were not blocked. The problem is gone. In addition, when I need legal assistance, the UAC quickly resolves issues.

Should approaches to agricultural activities be changed?

- Agribusiness is constantly changed. But when farmers stand still, they do not move forward. Domestic producers can no longer stand still, we are already far behind the average yields compared to developed agricultural countries. You need to move with the times and forget about some seeders or old equipment. You should buy good machinery and move in the direction of precision farming. Unfortunately, there is no more land, especially of high quality. It is necessary to develop on the existing land bank. The latest technologies make our lives easier, as well as help to get additional crops. We are an agricultural country, we create its future and new generation of farmers, to which I belong. Whether we like it or not, we are already changing agriculture in Ukraine.

Why did you decide to connect your life with agricultural sector?

- Our farm was founded by my late grandfather. When I finished school and chose a university, he also helped me with that choice. On the advice of my grandfather I chose the occupation of agronomist, because at that time the farm lacked such a specialist. I listened to the advice because I always enjoyed working on the land, and subjects like biology and chemistry were my favorites ones at school. So, I began to study, and after my grandfather's death, at a family meeting, it was decided that I would manage the farm. I’m a part of the agricultural sector from the very beginning: I was born in 1989, and our farm was founded in 1991, I have been managing it for 12 years.

Thursday, 23 December 2021