Demand for strawberries and, accordingly, prices in Ukraine are growing by 30-50% per year. That is why some amateur gardeners have retrained as entrepreneurs, successfully combining hobbies and strawberry growing businesses.
In supermarkets, imported strawberries are sold off-season at fabulous prices - about 70 UAH. for 1 kg. The cost of domestic strawberries, which is not inferior to imported in quality, is 20-40 UAH. Moreover, Ukrainian companies do not dump at all. The cost of berries grown in Ukrainian greenhouses is higher than in open ground: 11 UAH. per 1 kg against 2.7-4 UAH.
This is a profitable business, because the selling price of garden strawberries from film greenhouses (the period from April 20 to May 20) starts from 40 UAH. per 1 kg, gradually decreasing to 20 UAH. for 1 kg. The cost is also affected by the size of the landing area. Sowing an area of 20-40 ha, you can go to the cost of growing strawberries in 2 UAH. per kilogram. But for a profitable business of growing garden strawberries in open ground, 0.5-1 ha is enough, and in greenhouses - 30 acres.
When growing strawberries, not only the planting area is important, but also the growing technology used. In Ukraine, 50 tons per 1 ha are considered a good indicator. About 35-40 tons are collected from open ground.
It is believed that for growing strawberries, greenhouses are more profitable, because land is needed less, and the dependence on weather conditions is almost zero. Sunlight and heat can be replaced with artificial lighting and heating.
The profitability of growing strawberries in greenhouses exceeds 100%, and the payback magpies rarely exceed one season. But, the initial costs of organizing greenhouses are 30-50% higher than when grown in open ground. On average, to build a greenhouse with a working area of 1 ha, 550-620 thousand UAH will be required.
Growing strawberries outdoors is less costly, but more risky. Firstly, you can lose up to 30% of the crop due to bad weather. Secondly, since supermarkets take goods for sale, at first there may be big losses, due to its high price and quick damage.
Growing Strawberries as a Business: Sales Issues
As for the marketing system, it requires serious organization. You can sell fresh strawberries or hand them in for processing. It is not profitable for an entrepreneur to maintain their own selling points for strawberries.
In the winter season, goods are sold up to 80% through supermarkets. And in season strawberries are mainly sold to the market. It should be borne in mind that supermarkets place high demands on product quality: strawberries must be one-dimensional, clean, appropriate in color, etc.
Another sales channel is the sale of strawberries to processors (the production of juices, fruit yoghurts, freezing, convenience foods, jams, etc.). Its share in total sales is about 30%.
Growing strawberries as a business: features of berry picking
Presentation of the product is the main condition for sales. To ensure it is necessary to comply with several conditions. Firstly, it is worth getting a cooling chamber to cool the collected strawberries immediately (this will allow you to save the products for 14 days).
It is also important to monitor the harvest process.
Since strawberries are a perishable and delicate product, it is important that after the break from the bush no one touches the berry with their hands, up to the final consumer, it should not be sprinkled or shifted. It is advisable to collect strawberries directly in the box in which it will be sold. The best containers are small baskets, plastic or paper bags with a capacity of 1-3 kg.
Strawberry pickers have stringent requirements. Usually, a briefing is given before cleaning with a detailed explanation of the collection rules. After all, the slightest mistake can lead to damage to the whole batch of the crop. The labor of collectors is paid at the rate of 100 UAH. per day with a productivity of 40 kg, if the berry is small, and about 200 kg, if it is large. Highly qualified professionals, such as agronomists, are hired by outsourcing.
Based on an article by Andrey Olshevsky
for the magazine Power of Money
* The article is more than 8 years old. May contain outdated data