The company “Tula berry” (RF) automates the collection of honeysuckle


The company “Tula berry” (RF) automates the collection of honeysuckle

05/07/2020

Tula Berry has been working to increase recognition of honeysuckle among Russian consumers since 2019

As Yevgeny Mitnitsky, Director General of the Tula Berry Group of Companies, told FruitNews correspondent, in order to introduce contactless berry picking technology into production, one had to first evaluate the experience of mechanically picking blueberries from colleagues in the Netherlands. The existing harvesters for blueberries turned out to be unsuitable for harvesting honeysuckle, so they collected their own on the farm.

“We have designed a harvester for honeysuckle, and this year we will conduct the first cleaning without contact. The berry is shaken directly into the harvester, down the tray into a box, and unnecessary leaves are blown away by a garden vacuum cleaner. The first person to touch the berry will be the buyer himself, ”Yevgeny Mitnitsky explained.

In connection with the latest changes in the market, the company plans to concentrate on direct sales. Tula Yagoda has been working to increase recognition of honeysuckle among Russian consumers since 2019, when deliveries of berries to Moscow’s largest wholesale and retail food center Food City and federal retail chains began.

“Among the manufacturers of honeysuckle, we have no particular competitors. <…> Those who have tried it at least once become its regular consumers. Through our intermediary, we will supply berries to federal networks. <…> Honeysuckle was taken in small boxes last year and sold at a very decent price. Buyers were wary of her. This year, in order not to sell berries at a low price, we decided to freeze part and pack it in packages of 1 kg. For this, we have already bought a sealing machine for plastic bags. We will also establish sales through Instagram. We will deliver to Moscow, Tula, Kaluga and Korolev, ”added the director of Tula Berry.

Discussing the closure of Russia’s borders for foreign workers, Yevgeny Mitnitsky emphasized that it is necessary to initially think about the number of pickers needed and to develop a berry farm taking into account the cultivation of commercially demanded crops and the financial burden on the producer.

“To reduce the number of pickers, you need to balance the landing. I listened to the advice of an incompetent consultant and planted 10 hectares of raspberries, and this turned into big problems. When I, as a beginner farmer, heard about 15 tons from 1 ha, I multiplied the number of hectares by productivity, price and planted only raspberries, now it’s ridiculous to even remember this. To even out the situation, we have expanded the planting of other crops on the farm. Ideally, the same number of people can do during the season. But in practice this does not always work out: if I spend 30 people at the moment on the whole season, then I need 60 people to collect raspberries, I have to hire teams from Dagestan whose productivity is low, ”shared Eugene.

See also: Polish producers increase the area under honeysuckle

Closing borders for foreign workers has become a real challenge for the berry industry in Russia. In Europe, where the problem of staff shortages worsened earlier, measures have already been taken to provide the industry with seasonal workers. For example, the Spanish government approved a permit to attract unemployed and illegal migrants. The German government has decided to allow foreigners to enter the EU at a limited quota. Every month, 40 thousand workers are allowed to enter. In addition, German residents, temporarily unemployed, volunteer to harvest asparagus in North Rhine-Westphalia. In France, the successful Armsforyourplate information campaign attracted 130,000 candidates to work in the field, and recruitment of volunteers continues.

As noted in the Berry Union, Russia will not be able to adopt the experience of attracting local residents to the field work of European colleagues because of the remoteness of production sites from large settlements and the low mobility of the country’s inhabitants. The shortage of personnel is threatened primarily by the fact that in the 2020 season, many large farms that provide the market with the highest quality berries will not be harvested.

On farms where each crop occupies relatively small areas, the situation is better. With this distribution, the industrial scale of berry production is maintained, the assortment of berries is wider, and harvesting is easier.

“This approach works if we do not need large consignments. You can work on the local market, direct sales, with chains, providing them with relatively small volumes of products throughout the year. We can work with wholesalers. I would not say that we have a small economy: raspberries – 15 hectares, blueberries – 4.5 hectares, honeysuckles – 3.5 hectares, currants and gooseberries 1 ha each, ”summed up Yevgeny Mitnitsky.

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