Which decisions expects agricultural sector from Ukrainian authorities, John Shmorgun, the president of «AgroGeneration» said LDaily.
The president of «AgroGeneration» John Shmorgun is versatile person. He loves to sing in a choir as the call of the soul, to swim and do yoga. But his greatest passion is meeting with students of Ukrainian agricultural universities. He motivates students to work on a specialty because it’s our future. And this man with a big heart is president of «AgroGeneration», the leader in the agricultural market of Ukraine. During the conversation, John admitted that his biggest dream — is to spend at least one weekend at home, without haste. However, he has no such possibility. The goal is to prove that Ukrainian agricultural business is very promising for investments and become a company that is working on a strategy Lean Six Sigma, where every manager is a professional in their field. In particular, John Shmorgun told how he works with the competitors and why foreign IT technologies in agribusiness are unpopular in Ukraine.
LDaily: Mr. Shmorgun, the company «AgroGeneration» on agricultural market of Ukraine started its activity in 2007. Have you ever thought over 10 years of fruitful work that the agricultural sector wasted?
J. Shmorgun: Summing up 2016, I can assure you that even times of crisis did not stop the development of the agricultural sector of Ukraine. You probably have heard that last year was a breakthrough for farmers. And this is true: productivity increased, the economy began to work more effectively and quickly learned agricultural companies to grow their products. All agricultural holdings are trying to control the embezzlement of funds to obtain higher performance.
LDaily: Could you explain us, please, what affected the change already accepted standards of agricultural companies?
J. Shmorgun: We were waiting for support from the state for a long time. Unfortunately, the government does not help our industry. Perhaps it is not clear how important the state agricultural sector and agricultural market — a strategic business — for the country. They look at agricultural sector only as a source of income, but we did not get the help we needed. And I hope that with time things will change.
LDaily: What immediate steps do you recommend to the government to establish relations with agribusiness?
J. Shmorgun: At first, I would advise state institutions to review the necessity f laws concerning state regulation of production and export of agricultural enterprises. Because they create the basis of corruption in the country. Secondly.
agriculture sector has long been waiting for the authorities cancel the moratorium on land sales. This will provide greater certainty to farmers and land owners.
They will know that at any moment can sell the land or give it long-term lease. And agriholdings want to be sure that in the case of lifting the moratorium they will remain entitled to handling public lands. While in the respective laws this option is not provided. Of course, we are trying to lobby for our interests, to explain to the authorities what they do wrong. Sometimes they listen to us but sometimes not. As a businessman, I am glad that in Ukraine started working UkraineInvest – a special department of the Cabinet of Ministers, which encourages investment in Ukraine. This means government knows what to do for business. The only question is whether we get the expected results.
LDaily: Do the agricultural companies support each other taking into account the the lack of public promotion of agribusiness in the country? In particular, which kind of in relationship has «AgroGeneration» with competitors?
J. Shmorgun: In Ukraine, as in other countries, there is fair and unfair competition. We support only fair, since only collaborate with decent competitors. Our lands are often located close by, so we have to respect each other. This is important in our business. Of course, we have some negativity, because as parallel unfair competition, which aims to take away someone’s business, resell and earn more on it. These competitors poured negatively on the reputation of the whole country and we are struggling with it as well. But business is always unpredictable.
LDaily: Can you assure that the country is already showing signs of business culture?
J. Shmorgun: Absolutely. Business does not wait for help from the state. Fair companies just do their business and maintain its reputation. This is the most important thing for us. The company must be respected on market to catch investors who will not be afraid to invest in the company. Therefore, all major agricultural holdings tend not to lose respect. Because on this depends their development.
In general, every public company must comply with rules on the legal field. If a businessman does them, it is no problem and it has a positive effect on business development. Thus lives the Western world. For example, in the US all clearly know that the law prohibits. In Ukraine the opposite: everyone knows only what is allowed. This trend is particularly noticeable in business relations with Ukrainian business partners.
LDaily: Is your company stepping up to date? Do you introduce modern and innovative IT technology, keep track of this?
J. Shmorgun: Now all agricultural companies are beginning to use IT technology. «AgroGeneration» also not far behind. In addition, we are developing our own exclusively for our needs. For example, geographic information system (GIS), which we use, we do not buy and set up our own. It brings together all of our systems and provides information on each field. We have some offers with IT-services even from the US and Europe. Unfortunately, their system does not meet our needs because of a lack of technical capacity for us. The process in agriculture Ukraine requires us to knowledge of all parts of their land. Therefore, foreign technology does not always suit us in the work, whether new one or not.