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Chinese investors breathe new life into rural Ukraine

By Xinhua | China Daily | Updated: 2017-04-20 07:15

Chernigov gets boost in job chances as it has experienced labor force outflow for decades

KIEV, Ukraine - Newly sown fields, well-kept houses and modern farms - the rural area surrounding Koryukovka settlement shines like a pearl among the string of abandoned villages in a remote corner of Ukraine's northern Chernigov region.

After experiencing labor force outflow for decades, Koryukovka gained new life in 2013, when it attracted the interest of investors from Central China's Henan province.

The Chinese State-owned Huangfanqu Farm entered into a joint venture called Fanda with a Ukrainian partner and has already invested more than $10 million in the development of farming in Koryukovka district, changing the lives of locals.

"Since the Chinese company started to finance us, we have significantly increased the number of livestock and boosted the productivity of our cattle," said Olga Ruchko, a technician at the Koryukovka livestock farm.

Standing proudly in front of the modern farm, Ruchko was not trying to hide her pleasure with the Chinese investors.

In 2013, the farm faced closure because the previous owners failed to provide enough funds even for buying protein-rich feeds for cows to help the animals produce enough milk and gain weight.

"Previously, we could not afford good feeds and our livestock has not got enough nutrition. But now, with Chinese financing, we buy everything we need - oil cakes and concentrated feeding stuff for cows and mixed cattle feed for calves," Ruchko said.


Due to better feeding and improved animal welfare after the renovation of the farm, the daily milk output per cow has risen from 10 to 22 liters.

Chinese investment has helped double the livestock at the farm to 2,000 cows and calves and provided jobs to about 100 residents of Koryukovka.

The farmers sell about 9 tons of fresh milk to local cheese producers daily. They also provide free milk to a local kindergarten.

The farm at Koryukovka, nearly 300 kilometers north of the Kiev, is one of the two agricultural enterprises managed by Fanda. The other is located in Naumovka, a suburb of Koryukovka, just 15 minutes' drive away.

Once a flourishing village during the Soviet times, Naumovka lost most of its younger generation, who left in search of better life in the city.

Now, young people stopped moving out from Naumovka as the village offers them new employment opportunities. Chinese investment revived about 3,000 hectares of arable farmland in Naumovka, providing jobs to more than 130 villagers.

In 2013, Volodymyr Metla, a 40-year-old resident of Naumovka, was considering moving to Kiev to take a job as a construction worker so that he could support his family.

Metla's life has changed since Chinese investors came to his village and gave him a job as a tractor driver, while employing his wife as a junior accountant.

"I have been working for the Chinese company for four years and I like my job. Chinese managers pay the wages timely, they have good agriculture equipment and they are good people. We made friends with some of them," Metla said.

Win-win cooperation

Apart from managing the livestock farm in Koryukovka and fields of corn, oats and lupine in Naumovka, Fanda rents a forest of 2,700 hectares, where it plans to raise wild animals, such as deer and hunting birds.

Zhang Zhenhua, director of Fanda, said that the agricultural cooperation between Chinese and Ukrainian enterprises is a win-win for both sides due to the complementary advantages of the two economies.

China has experience and knowledge of modern farming technologies, its investors have financial resources, while Ukraine has fertile land and good farming infrastructure.

"Before coming to Ukraine, we have visited many countries in Africa and Southeast Asia. Then we found out that agriculture is very well developed in Ukraine and decided to invest in this country," Zhang said.

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