At the start of the planting season, around 10,000 Ukrainian households received free bags of Dutch seed potatoes from trading company IPM Potato Group LTD. The donation is an initiative of IPM Holland BV, in close cooperation with the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN) and the Irish Ministry of Agriculture, operations manager Erik Appeldooren explains.
The idea for the donation was born during a business trip to Kenya, Appeldooren states. There he got into conversation with a representative of the Ministry of Agriculture in Ireland, about the situation in Ukraine. Soon they were discussing the desire and the possibilities to offer help there, for example with something a company like IPM has to offer: seed potatoes.
Ukraine is not an unknown sales country for the trading company. ‘We have been doing business with Yurri Voloshyn’s cultivation, storage and transhipment company LLC TH-Hermes for more than 12 years. We have built a very good relationship with him and his family. As soon as the war broke out last year, we were able to help them by bringing his wife Yana and daughter Victoria to the Netherlands, and arranging temporary accommodation here. He stayed behind to keep his business running as much as possible. So yes, we already had contacts and in consultation with Voloshyn we conceived the idea to free up a large batch of seed potatoes, for donation to the population.’
‘It concerns households in three war-affected provinces north-east of Kyiv, whose food supply largely depends on their own vegetable garden. In close consultation with the Irish Ministry of Agriculture, the Ukrainian Ministry of Agriculture and the embassies of the two countries involved, we agreed to supply 500 tons of Dutch seed potatoes to the hard-hit area in Ukraine. Contact with the FAO led to them eventually taking care of the distribution to households. With these 500 tons, delivered in jute bags of 25 kilograms, a total of about 10,000 households in the Northeast of Ukraine are provided with beautiful seed potatoes. It concerns table potato varieties such as Tornado, Electra, Orla and Sensation,’ Appeldooren sums up.
A calculation shows that, with the harvest of the donated seed potatoes, eventually 120,000 people can be fed. ‘Earlier, just after the outbreak of the war, we also delivered a few loads of consumption potatoes, onions and carrots. If necessary, we will continue to support the population in the future,’ the operations manager adds. ‘Above all, let us hope that peace will soon come to the country and that we can help with the reconstruction. Unfortunately, no signs of this are visible for the time being. For example, the potato trade towards the affected war zone in the Northeast is still completely halted and even we cannot trade potatoes at the moment. Some activities are still taking place on the west side, but it is expected that this season there will certainly be potato shortages in the country. Hopefully our seed potatoes will alleviate the suffering of the population a bit.’
At the start of the planting season, around 10,000 Ukrainian households received free bags of Dutch seed potatoes from the trading company IPM Potato Group LTD. Households in heavily affected provinces northeast of Kyiv have received the seed potatoes, mainly for use in their own vegetable garden.
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