Assistance to the Beneficiary and End-Users in the Implementation of a Project Aimed at the Social and Economic Development of the Districts of Rivne Region Contaminated Following the Chernobyl Accident
Large territories in Ukraine were contaminated as a result of the Chernobyl accident (1986). It is estimated that about 5% of the total territory is contaminated by 137Cs (above 3,700 Bq/m²) and about 5% of the Ukrainian population lives in the contaminated areas. There are currently more than 400 towns and villages in Ukraine, where the average individual dose exceeds 1 mSv/a.
Picking forest berries and mushrooms is a traditional occupation of the population of the Rivne region. Forest berries and mushrooms for further industrial processing are an important source of income for many local families, which forms up to 40% of their annual financial profit.
On this basis the project was focussed on assistance to Ukraine in the implementation of a pilot project on social and economic development of the Rivne region, Volodymyrets district. The Volodymyrets district (1940 km² with a population of about 62,000) is located in the Northwest of the Rivne region and forestland occupies most of the district. Many rural settlements of the district are located near forestland and collecting wild berries is a traditional job of the population. Private gardening is, as a rule, a part of the life of the population. A fruits and berries processing enterprise was established in the district equipped to perform radiological controls of delivered forest products. However, the need for modernisation of the processing equipment has been recognised.
The project (started in 2009) was implemented by Transtec (Belgium) in close connection with a complementary project U2.04/05A (contract 154163) for supply of horticultural and berry crops seedlings, gardening tools and equipment for establishment of a fruit and berries processing plant.
The overall objective of the project was to improve the socio-economical situation of the Rivne region, Volodymyrets district, along with the quality of life and health of the population.
The specific objectives were:
- To assist the Beneficiary and End-users in implementing a pilot project aimed at increasing the production of radiologically clean horticultural products, including addressing the need for strengthening the commercial and technical basis of small and medium enterprises through encouragement of private investments;
- To develop and consolidate skills of the rural population in agricultural and economic activities carried out in modern conditions;
- To assist in averting the rural population from the traditional collection of berries and mushrooms from contaminated areas through the establishment of private lots where non-contaminated products are grown;
- To decrease the rate of unemployment in the district through the development of new economic activities in the rural areas.
The Contract was signed in March 2009 and covered the following five tasks (see attached U4.02-05 Scope of Work, Attachment 1):
- Task 1 – Preparation of the project work-plan and schedule of implementation;
- Task 2 – Support in the selection of the participants in the project implementation; and development of a report containing a proposed list of participants in the project and providing the relevant justification;
- Task 3 – Preparation of recommendations, and more specifically a report providing a proposed list of selected land allotments, individual business plans, agricultural recommendations, methodical recommendations in gardening agrotechnics and an assessment of the provided training;
- Task 4 – Technical, management and legal assistance to the participants in the project throughout its implementation including advice regarding gardening, registration of the participants as private entrepreneurs, contracting with processing enterprises and other necessary tasks as identified; and
- Task 5 – Preparation of a final report documenting all the activities and providing recommendations.
Criteria were developed for the selection of local individual farms for participation in the project. A survey questionnaire was developed, mass media involved, a number of meetings were held in the district villages, as well was a series of training seminars with potential project participants.
The entrepreneurial activities of the rural population in the selected district were stimulated by establishment of private subsidiary plots and growing radiological clean horticultural products – fruits and berries, as well as by establishment of corresponding horticultural product treatment capacities.
The results included recommendations concerning the techniques to be applied for the production of non-contaminated crops. Some of the important factors considered in the project were fertilization, weed control, disease control and organisation of harvest (see for example the attached presentation of the experiences with strawberry growing; Attachment 2).
A contract amendment was negotiated in 2011 to include among other tasks, the creation of a film and booklets about the project.
The project was completed in November 2011.