Each agricultural season requires new investments to keep progressing

Pavel Zingan, in an interview with Serghei Tiorsa, director of LLC "AGRO-DENISIMUS", a maib business customer.

Mr Tiorsa, good afternoon. This interview is part of our series on agriculture, and, as we have already seen, all stories are unique. Let's start with the stage leading up to the LLC. What have you done, and in what field have you worked?

Hello, before opening the LLC in 2003, I ran a little farm for three years and going back even further, my work was related to agriculture.

How did your professional journey start?

My career started with studying agriculture. I graduated from the Agricultural Institute with a degree in agricultural mechanisation. At first, I was employed in a tractor brigade, repairing specialised machinery, and then worked as a chief engineer. After the collapse of the USSR, I decided to work in agriculture and do what I liked and could do. I had to adapt to the new conditions and look for opportunities to grow and develop.

Is your whole experience related to agriculture?

That's right, I have more than 40 years of experience in agriculture.

Back in 2000, when you decided to open a farm, how did you start?

I started by renting land and orchards. Along the way,  I had the opportunity to buy some plots, but today, most of the land I work on is rented.

The first orchards were cherry, sour cherry, apple, and some plum trees. Later, we planted apricot orchards. The total area of the orchards is about 120 hectares.

After a few years of work, in addition to the gardens, we started to cultivate fields of various cereal crops - corn, sunflowers, peas, alfalfa, barley, wheat, and rape. Our farm is located in the center of Moldova, in the Orhei district. 

Are you also involved in exports?

No, I worry enough worries about growing, harvesting, and storing crops. From the beginning, we have worked closely with companies that buy fruit and grain from us and are engaged in further sales. The main volume is exported to CIS countries and Europe, and a small part of the harvest remains for the local market.

You have vast agricultural experience and have seen two utterly different farming systems: collective farming and LLC. How important is it to follow the trends in agriculture and keep up with progress?

It's essential for the dynamic development of the agriculture business. You can't just rely on knowledge gained decades ago. You have to follow trends and learn constantly. Of course, years of experience have advantages, but we must always look for new, modern solutions and implement them as soon as possible.

For example, I'm replacing old apple orchards with new, high-fruit-bearing ones. Old fruit trees are uprooted, and new varieties are planted, considering all modern requirements. I plan to replace the cherry orchard in autumn by planting Italian varieties. We are working with a company in Moldova that imports seedlings, and we expect new fruit tree types.

Why did you choose Italian cherry varieties?

One of the main advantages is that the cherries start bearing fruit the very next year after planting. Of course, the harvest is still relatively modest, but this will already be a good result for the first year.

In agriculture, as in any other business with a buyer, there are specific market demands. The consumer is becoming increasingly careful in choosing products, choosing more carefully between competitors and, of course, giving preference to quality, taste and aesthetics. Italian cherry varieties are in demand and sought after by buyers. Of course, we chose them to comply  with the trends.

Any agricultural modernisation is a significant investment that requires substantial funding. Is it possible to cope with it on your own money?

From my experience, it is not. Any investment in a business most often requires the availability of a large amount of capital here and now, so the only solution is to borrow. In over 20 years of business as an LLC, I have taken out a new loan almost every year to cover my needs. I became a maib customer 24 years ago, and meanwhile, I have not approached any other financial institution.

What did you use your biggest loans for?

One of our biggest investments was to build a 1000-tonne fridge, after which we took out a loan to install solar panels for the refrigerator. A JCB loader is one of the important acquisitions for which we also used a loan. Without modern farming technology, it would be impossible to move forward.

This year, purchasing new varieties of seedlings became possible due to loans from maib.

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