“Ukrainian farmers have to keep pace with the rest of the world”: Agroaliance CEO says about the company’s development during the war
Agroaliance is Ukrainian dealer and distributor of import equipment. The company was established as early as 2001. Today it represents in Ukraine such famous global marketeers as Case IH, Flexi Coil (the USA), MX (France), Gregoire & Besson (France), Moresil (Spain), MaschioGaspardo (Italy), and much more. The company is owned by the famous investor Vadym Iermolaiev.
We asked the company’s CEO, Viktor Ponomarchuk, how Agroaliance works during the war and how much it suffered from military actions.
– Viktor, please tell us about February 24, 2022. How was this day for you and for the company in general?
– Surely, our first emotion was a shock. I suppose that nobody could believe that it is possible to make such a rude and cruel war that was not provoked absolutely, and this is twenty-first century.
It was the end of February. It is almost the height of the season for the agricultural equipment dealers because all farmers prepare for sowing time actively. So we had a lot of working plans for Thursday in our heads even on the evening of February 23. We did not think about the war until the first explosion. And then we had to brace up quickly, accept the new reality, and advance into action.
– What did you do in the first days of the war?
– Firsts of all, we had to take care of the safety of our employees. We said to our office employees that they should stay home and work in remote mode if possible on that day.
We started to evacuate our employees from the battle areas and occupied territories. Surely, we allowed using our company vehicles to evacuate the families and children of our employees to the west of Ukraine. Many employees decided to join the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
The service team did not stop its work even for a day. We continued to go and maintain and repair the equipment. Maybe, you know that sad joke about the farmer? It does not matter whether there is a plague epidemic or war because it is sowing season. We understood it very well. Moreover, we helped Ukrainian farmers to evacuate their equipment from near-front territories. It was extreme and dangerous but we did not leave our customers face to face with problems in that situation.
– Did Agroaliance volunteer?
– Surely, nobody stood aside. First of all, many employees became volunteers and solicited funds upon their initiative. And secondly, we had the centralized program from Agroaliance oriented for help to Ukrainian farmers whose equipment suffered from war. We performed free of charge damage assessment of parts of the Case agricultural equipment that was blown up by a land mine or suffered from the attack, for example. We performed diagnostics of hundreds of tractors during this time for free.
– Did your company have representative offices in the territories which are occupied now? What are your losses caused by a full-scale invasion?
– One of our equipment warehouses was located in the occupied Melitopol city; it was devastated by the invaders. The company vehicles of our technical support engineers were seized. Fortunately, all of our employees were able to evacuate. We also have one of our warehouses in the Sumy region; it survived the occupation. The premise was not harmed but the warehouse functioning was stopped until the moment of Russian forces withdrawal.
Unfortunately, one of our equipment parks was destroyed in Huliaipole. It was a newly refurbished premise. The explosion wave smashed in all the windows; the roof burnt away.
I would like to say that all of our employees who were in charge of the destroyed or occupied facilities were evacuated to Dnipro city. We settled and employed them. We were very glad that we were able to save our team because people are our greatest assets.
– How does your company work today? What has changed after the war began?
– As I noted before, Agroaliance did not stop its work within the territories controlled by Ukraine even for a day. Supply of the spare parts and equipment was not interrupted even in the first days. The logistics became complicated naturally. However, we go ahead; we provide Ukrainian grain growers with high-quality equipment, and we go on to maintain it as well. We visit Ukrainian and international exhibitions. We can not stop. We have to move with time through thick and thin. We believe in the victory of Ukraine and we take all measures to maintain the economy of our country and help farmers to gather high-yielding crops. This is our contribution, and we work for it every day; it inspires us.
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