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My passion for growing tomatoes

A taste led to my decision to start a business - it is about the delicious, round and little cherry tomatoes. Being fond of their savor, a young family from Butuceni, Orhei, decided to try their luck in vegetables growing.

 “We did not want to go abroad and by the economic activity that we started we wanted to bring home also our parents who are working abroad. Our business idea started from Cherry tomatoes”, starts her story Svetlana Senin - Oprea.

 

To see her dream come true, Svetlana Senin-Oprea, supported by her husband, Victor Oprea, in January 2015, registered a limited liability company, made a business plan and submitted a grant application to the IFAD program. Shortly after this, the project proposal was declared eligible and, in September 2015, the young family received MDL 300 thousand for the construction of greenhouses and purchase of a tiller Kipor KDT caterpillar 910E (Disel) for soil cultivation in greenhouses. “Both the credit – MDL 180 thousand and IFAD grant of MDL 120 thousand have been invested in the construction of two greenhouses with an area of 7 acres and greenhouses equipment procurement. One of the greenhouses is of block type, covered with double plastic fi lm. The advantage is that we gain about 20 days, i.e. we harvest earlier.  However, in the first year, we did not really succeed, because we installed the greenhouse with a delay”, said Svetlana. Because ecological products are in high demand, a basic goal of the young people was to grow tomatoes without using herbicides. “From the very beginning, we decided not to sprinkle anything on the seedlings, to grow hundred percent ecological products. Because we are not farmers, we faced many problems. Our plants were attacked by various diseases. Although we consulted several specialists in agriculture, not all guided us properly. So, in the first year, we received less profit, but a lot of experience that is very important”, said the young lady.

 Svetlana says that the results were lower because, from the beginning, they made some mistakes, especially as the seedlings were purchased from inappropriate suppliers and the variety was not the promised one.  So it happened that, in the first year, we grew not cherry tomatoes, but a simple variety, a hybrid. Furthermore, although they were sure that the variety should produce two harvests, they received only one harvest. Learning from this experience, Oprea spouses decided they should grow their own seedlings and already installed a tiny greenhouse for their production.

 Despite the obstacles, the young people continue to work with determination and optimism, following the principles set. Even if there are many tomatoes on the market, the Oprea family believes that, in the near future, they will succeed because they will off er quality vegetables with extra energy value to their customers. Currently, the whole family is involved in this small economic activity – the young entrepreneurs Svetlana and Victor, their parents and their little girl of 4 years old and the baby who will soon be born are the future helpers. In order to cope with different imminent difficulties of a start in the business, courses organized by IFAD, where Svetlana also refreshed her knowledge in management of small business and learned about changes in legislation regarding bookkeeping in an enterprise but also about managing an economic activity in agriculture were of real help.

  Svetlana Senin-Oprea graduated Finance and Banking Department and soon should get a Master degree in economics and rural development policy, said at the end of the discussion: “I would give an advice to future entrepreneurs - to read a lot, to get informed, to be persistent and not to give up in front of diffi  culties”.


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