Combining the Experience of Southern and Western Ukraine: The Story of Hanna Zamyshliayeva

Because of the full-scale Russian invasion, Hanna Zamyshliayeva, her husband and three children had to leave Kherson. The family settled in the village of Shyroka Hreblya in the Vinnytsia region. At first, they planned to return home as soon as possible but later realized that their hometown remained dangerous despite its de-occupation, so they had to build their life in a new place.

“Vegetables used to make up a very large percentage of our diet. In the summer, we basically ate mostly vegetables. But in the Vinnytsia region, the range of vegetables, fruits, and berries was not as large as we were used to. And their prices were much higher than in Kherson,” says Hanna.

Therefore, when Hanna was thinking about starting a business, she decided agribusiness was the right choice. Step by step, the couple bought materials and seeds, and in the spring, Hanna attended training for women entrepreneurs under the project “Economic Opportunities for Women Affected by Conflict,” which the Ukrainian Women’s Fund implemented with the support of UN Women and the UN Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund. 

“I have a completely different view of planning. Now I have a board in my house with a clear plan of tasks for the whole month. It helps me save time and money,” Hanna shared her impressions. During the training, she realized that one cannot just plant seeds and wait to see what happens because all processes need to be planned. 

Hanna attended training sessions, developed and presented a business plan, and won a grant. Interestingly, she was the only person in the group of students who decided to work in the agricultural sector. She believes this industry is promising because thanks to the climate and with modern technologies and gardening experience in the south of the country, Hanna is already looking for ways to automate her work, thinking about how to increase production capacity and what kind of vegetables or berries are profitable.

“Combining the experience of southern and western Ukraine gives new opportunities for the agricultural sector,” says Hanna. 

She decided that the first year she would grow sweet peppers, corn, zucchini, blueberries, and strawberries. She also considers growing ornamental plants as a possible area of business development, but such work will bring results only in the long run. She carefully monitors the conditions to ensure that they are favorable for the plants: she has built greenhouses with automatic irrigation for seedlings and covered the strawberry beds with agro fiber. Hanna buys certified seeds so that moving forward, she can establish cooperation with local small restaurants. 

Finding reliable sales markets is now a crucial task for further business development, and therefore, Hanna is considering various options and planning negotiations with sellers.