The hosts of the interactive morning TV show “Budilnik” (“The Wake-Up”) aired on “Lipetskoye Vremya” TV channel met with Grigory Butkov, the Director for Production of “Ovoschi Chernozemya” greenhouse complex. The main topic of discussion was the production, output, and prospects of the greenhouse industry in Russia and the region. The complex is a part of ECO-Culture holding and is the largest indoor vegetable production facility not only in Lipetsk Oblast but in whole Russia as well.
The conversation began with Grigory Butkov talking about the scale of the complex and the peculiarities of greenhouse production. According to the Director for Production, the enterprise annually produces more than 60,000 tons of ecologically friendly and tasty tomatoes of both traditional round, plum, and cocktail varieties. There are also unique hybrids that are produced in Russia by ECO-Culture exclusively.
The tomatoes have repeatedly won prizes and awards at major international exhibitions. More than that, these products have been honored with the “XXI Century Quality Mark”, which confirms that no chemical methods of pest and disease control are used in the greenhouses but only biological ones.
Apart from the greenhouse itself, the facility houses a distribution center where vegetables get sorted, packaged, and boxed before being shipped to retail chains. The tomatoes are supplied not only to supermarkets in Lipetsk Oblast but to other regions of the Russian Federation as well. The company plans to open a branded store within the greenhouse complex, which would offer the freshest vegetables “right from the bush” at prices excluding retail markups.
Answering the hosts’ question about the number of personnel operating the complex, Grigory Butkov noted that “Ovoschi Chernozemya” is a state-of-the-art enterprise, with all production processes controlled by a centralized computer system. Nevertheless, the successful work of the complex would be impossible without a well-matched and tight-knit team of professionals. Right now, the greenhouse employs 1,300 people including agronomists, vegetable growers, engineers, logisticians, handymen, and representatives of many other professions.
The Director for Production believes the greenhouse industry in Russia to be a rather promising field. One does not have to leave his or her home region to find a decent and well-paid job in this field. In particular, the complex in Lipetsk Oblast offers not only official employment, stable wages, and comfortable working conditions but also excellent opportunities for career growth within the company. With new production spaces opening now, the complex is in need of vegetable growers. These are specialists who are involved in the vegetable cultivation process starting from sowing to harvesting. All the newcomers undergo on-the-job training right at the company’s premises.
When asked which tomatoes are the most delicious from his professional point of view, Grigory Butkov said that those would be cherry tomatoes. They are, in fact, the sweetest and most nutritious.
To watch the full interview, please visit the channel’s VKontakte page.