Silskiy Revizor Inspected Agrain
At the end of April, the team of Silskiy Revizor (SR) visited Volodkova Divytsia to appraise the involvement of the agro-group Agrain in the life of the village. The picturesquely named place (from Ukrainian Volodkova Divytsia translates as Volodka’s Darling) is located 14 km away from Nizhyn in Chernihiv region. The SR team carefully studied the implementation of CSR by the company in the village. Together with the village council, Agricore Holding realizes such vital projects as road repairs, renovations of local schools and hospitals, and social programs. Here is how the synergy of the community and agribusiness works in practice.
Related story: Silskiy Revizor Comes to the Village of Volodkova Divytsia
Wherever we went during the inspection, the residents told us about the help the local enterprise of the agro-group Agrain provides. Agricore Holding has been present here since 2007. It cultivates 6 thou. ha of land growing sunflower, soybean, corn and winter wheat. Animal husbandry is another local branch of the enterprise.
“There are many good pastures in the Chernihiv region, so our company decided to engage in animal husbandry. Today we have 5 thou. head of cattle, 3 thou. of which are in Volodkova Divytsia. We raise cattle exclusively for meat production. In fact, we are the largest producer of beef in the region since Agricore Holding owns 50% of the beef cattle in the area,” says Volodymyr Zakalyuzhny, manager of the Volodka-Divytsia branch.
Agricore Holding is the only agricultural producer in Volodkova Divytsia. According to the head of the division, today the enterprise cooperates with 2000 lessors. Although there is no competition, the company has created all the necessary conditions for mutually beneficial cooperation. For example, last year the rent for land was raised to 9%. A native of Volodkova Divytsia Nadezhda Litvinenko has been leasing her plot to agrarians for many years and she is happy with the rent payments.
“We used to accept grain for payment because we used to keep cattle. Now it is cash. The payment comes regularly and without delay. If someone is in need, the company always lends a helping hand. I know that they offer financial support when a baby is born or a misfortune happens. Saying nothing of how much they help the village! People are happy with such conditions,” says Nadezhda Litvinenko.
A reliable taxpayer
The enterprise provides 123 job opportunities for the villagers. The average salary varies from 6 to UAH 6.8 thou. for positions in animal husbandry and up to UAH 10 thou. in crop production. The local budget receives about UAH 2 mln of payroll taxes and the same amount of money of the rent taxes. This gained the company the name of the largest taxpayer in the community last year.
In 2017, owing to decentralization, the budget of the district, which includes the village of Volodkova Divytsia, amounted to UAH 6.33 mln. The majority of the money comes from rent taxes. The community leases about 7,000 hectares of land with 5,848 hectares being rented by Agricore Holding. Not only is the holding the largest taxpayer, but it is also an active social player. The head of the village Alexander Havrilko noted that the youth stay in the village due to the job offered by the company as well as the relatively close location of the village to the capital city and the railway.
Agricore Holding signed a socio-economic agreement with the village council according to which the village receives additional UAH 85 per leased hectare. Last year, the agreement brought Volodkova Divytsia almost UAH 500 thou. of extra funds.
The last year’s money of the socio-economic agreement was used to carry out major repairs in the local school gym. Workers replaced the old plaster, put new grids on the windows, installed a special floor covering. In addition, Agricore Holding purchased the necessary sports equipment, uniform for players, and quality goal posts.
“The holding is very helpful. They support athletes; they bought sports equipment. Their help to the village is considerable. There are 71 streets in the district. Nearly every street is cleaned by the snow cleaning machines of the enterprise in winter. If we need agricultural equipment, they always lend it to us. They have not refused us even once,” tells us the head of the village Alexander Havrilko.
There are 5 local adult soccer teams and 2 combined teams with a total of almost 100 players in Volodkova Divytsia. Every year more and more people want to go in for sports. Therefore, the village council together with the agrarians provide the teams with transportation to participate in competitions. In return, the players always bring home victory.
“Things were very difficult some years back. I used to appeal for help to the state but it did not offer any. Now there is a community. It supports the youth. We get great help from the head of the village, the holding, the local deputy. Thanks to them our team will achieve a very high level of proficiency in 2-3 years,” shared Yuri Hryn, head of the NGO Football Federation in the Nosov Community.
Contributing to education
The head of the village coordinates annual projects with the local investor Agricore Holding. One of the projects was to bring pipe-born water to a local school. This year they have installed a new biofuel boiler. According to the school Principal Valentina Vovkogon, it was hardly ever warm in the school building. By the way, the current manager of the Volodko-Divytsia branch of Agricore Holding Vladimir Zakalyuzhnyi is a former student of Valentina Nikolaevna.
“Every request I had was granted. The plumbing was done; the boiler house was built and equipped. For the first time since the school foundation, we feel comfortable in the building,” says Valentina Vovkogon.
Annually all students, both first-graders and graduates, receive gifts from the agro-group. With the help of the company, parents save significantly on school supplies. On September 1, first-graders are given a set of stationery; all children without exception receive sweets on the New Year and St. Nicholas Day.
With the social-economic agreement money, new plastic windows were installed in the kindergarten. The same money was used for room redecoration, a new fence, and plaster renovation in the dining room. Agricore Holding has been providing paint for the children's playground and rooms for two years. According to the kindergarten Principal Maria Ivakhno, the agro-company never refuses to help them.
Due to disrepair, the village club is not used for recreation activities. Instead, they are carried out open air. The participants build a stage in the middle of the village and make props themselves. The village council and Agricore Holding provide money to buy the needed materials. They also help with gifts for the participants or transportation for them to tour to the nearby villages.
Alexander Pishevsky heads the social work department in Agricore Holding. He recalls that last January a resident of Volodkova Divytsia Mykhail Stratilat turned to the holding for help. A fire destroyed the roof of his house and severely damaged the house and property. The family was practically homeless in the middle of winter.
The whole village came to the Stratilats’ aid. People brought clothes, money and food. Agricore Holding did not stand aside either. The enterprise gave the fire victims UAH 20,000 so that they could rebuild the roof. Today Mikhail Ivanovich shows the repaired roof and says that without the support they would not have known what to do.
There are many more examples. Agrain helps families who lost loved ones in anti-terrorist operation (ATO) and low-income families. When the captain of the Ukrainian Ground Forces Anatoly Buryak died in 2014, the holding took care of the funeral expenses. It also provides his wife with an annual allowance. Besides, the enterprise honours the veterans of World War II. On May 9, they congratulate them on the Victory and bring gifts.
Health is above wealth
Dmitry Skripa, head of the local health care and obstetric clinic, says that the entrepreneurs provide essential support to the local healthcare. If the problem is low budget, he turns for help to shop owners and the pharmacy. Last year, the local pharmacy donated 20 blood pressure meters. If the problem requires much money, he asks Agricore Holding for help. The agrarians never refuse. Last year, the clinic received two computers from the company as a gift. In addition, the enterprise allocates money for ambulance repair quarterly and provides fuel for trips to patients monthly.
This is how the mutually beneficial partnership between the local community and the agrarians works in practice. Together with the residents of the village Volodkova Divytsia, we thank the agroholding Agrain and the enterprise Agricore Holding for the help and care of the Ukrainian village!
We also wish to remind you that Silskiy Revizor has concluded the second season of the inspections and it is time to choose the winner. Please vote for the Village of the Year 2018 at SilskiyRevizor.com.
Sofia Yaroshenko, Latifundist.com