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During the war we have agreed on a contract with Italian client

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Viktor Chornobajev, Director and co-owner of ECOSPOR LLC, manages the production of exotic mushrooms and production of substrate for them in eastern Ukraine. Despite the war plant is working. Victor even managed to find a new foreign client for a substrate for exotic mushrooms since the beginning of the war. Victor Chornobajev tells UMDIS about his work during the war.UMDIS: You are in Zaporizhia, this is the south-east of Ukraine. How are you and your family?

Viktor Chornobajev: We have sheltered refugees from eastern Ukraine and we must provide them with work in our production. I stayed in Zaporizhia, and continue working. My family and relatives have left the country. We sat together until the last – three weeks ago, when the shelling became more frequent and rockets fell in Zaporizhia near our house, I decided not to put them in risk any more. I have sent the family to our European client who buys our substrate. I am grateful him for his help.

UMDIS: How does substrate production work now? How much do you produce from pre-war volumes?Viktor Chornobajev: Before the war – until February – 80 tons of substrate per week or 300 tons per month we had. We had just been built up new capacities. We make 100 tons per month now. So work for a third. Per month we produce 50 tons per definite order, plus about 20 tons to have it on store and sale to Ukrainians and foreigners – so that when we receive order we have something to give. And 30 tons for own production of exotic mushrooms. We have mycelium in stock and will be able to sow almost any exotic strain – shimeji, eryngii, enoki, piopino – which will be ordered.UMDIS: What is the current demand for a substrate for exotic mushrooms?

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Viktor Chornobajev: During the war we agreed on a contract with an Italian client. We will ship him 44 tons of compost for the first time in June. I am currently looking for clients for a substrate for exotic mushrooms in Poland.

As for Ukrainian mushroom growers, the possibility of orders is being discussed, but few dare to go during the war. I think it may be that the prices of exotic mushrooms will go up highly – if the situation at the front is favorable, and supply of exotic mushrooms is minimal.UMDIS: You also grow and sell exotic mushrooms. What about demand and prices for them?

Victor Chornobajev: When the war began – orders stopped, then everyone was not up to the mushrooms. Orders have been gone since mid-March – mostly exotic mushrooms are now bought by supermarket chains – 70% of our sales are to them. When the war started, we had to ship 20 tons of substrate to a foreign client and we had it prepared – not shipped. At first I did not know what to do with so many blocks, even in peacetime it is a large amount. Up to 4 tons of mushrooms come out of it. In 1.5 months, the substrate has grown up – and we decided to invest in growing mushrooms on it. During one and a half week we already have sold 1.9 tons of eryngii – 2.8 Euro per kilo for cash and 3.8-5 Euro per kilogram for non-cash payment. Soon we will have shimeji too.

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