The Orenburg region in Russia boasts three flower-growing complexes, the biggest of them being Atena. Over a third of all produce from their greenhouses is sold in the local market through the wholesale and retail chain and the general partner of the enterprise, the Diantus company. The rest of the flowers are delivered to permanent clients over the whole of the Russian Federation: from Murmansk to Novosibirsk.
Almost 15 years ago, there were cucumber and tomato greenhouses where now gerberas and tulips grow. In 2005, the company purchased a land plot with greenhouses.
Gerberas, irises, tulips, eustoma and a variety of pot plants grow here all year round. The enterprise grows seedlings for the planting season too. The dwellers of Orenburg willingly purchase petunias, violas, marigolds and pelargoniums for garden decoration.
Closed production cycle
All day long, several types of lamps are lit in the greenhouses, fog, dripping and watering systems work nonstop. Every section has its own ventilation, automatic temperature control and airing regime.
Staff members monitor the conditions tightly in order to avoid the risk of losing the crops. Tender plants are often attacked by harmful organisms. If that happens, quarantine measures are introduced in the affected area.
The greenhouse complex is confidently approaching the stage of a closed production cycle, doing everything from growing planting material to packing cut flowers.
Flowers for every occasion
For Teacher’s Day, the growers prepared potted chrysanthemums and begonias. For the New Year the enterprise present bright red poinsettias.
On the eve of International Women’s Day, the conveyor belt does not stop for a second. Thousands of spring flowers need to be cut in a very limited time period, sorted, packed and delivered to the customer. In the pre-holiday days, tulips do not even reach the cooling chamber, where the flowers normally wait for the delivery.
Flowers from Orenburg are growing in demand, therefore the company is thinking of production expansion. They made the required calculations and groundwork and presented the project in a forum for state support for businesses. The project has been approved and the greenhouse complex has become one of the five investment projects in the region, which will receive financial support from the state on special conditions.
X-rays for productivity enhancement
The greenhouse enterprise is preparing a new production facility for tulips, featuring equipment for sorting and packaging the flowers arriving from the Netherlands.
Atena will become the first and yet the only greenhouse complex in Russia and the CIS countries to have such a piece of equipment at their disposal. Before the installation of the unique machine capable of sorting the flowers by color and length with the help of X-rays, the productivity was at the level of 10-12 thousand bouquets. Now it can be increased to 16.5 thousand pieces, allowing a significant reduction of labor costs and preserving the affordable prices.
The flower growers had certain difficulties about 9 years ago. All the profit was spent on paying out loans taken for the modernization of the equipment. The old associates remember how they were forced to burn whole batches of infected flowers. As a result, there were no flowers or money.
However, despite production challenges, the enterprise managed to rise to a new level. The challenges pointed at new possibilities and the way out was found.
Within the past 7 years, the company has been expanding the capacity under the supervision of the director, Mr. Andrey Razin. The acreage of 15 ha allows for a variety of activities. The enterprise has been recently engaging in corn and strawberry growing in the open field. Perhaps in the coming years, the complex will expand in a completely new capacity.