We have repeatedly said that one of the company’s top priority objectives is to develop villages in which our shareholders live. Today, we will talk to Oksana Talianchuk, director of the social policy department, on Kusto Agro achievements in this area.
– Is social policy a priority area of activity for the company?
– Our enterprise is a socially-oriented company. Surely, making profits is our main objective as this is what business is for. But it’s not our only goal. Another priority area is the social policy of course. It’s essential for our company that the village develops and people have jobs receiving a worthy reward for their work.
– How efficient was the Kusto Agro activities in this area in the past year?
– I’m absolutely happy with the results of the past year. We have done a lot of important work in the specific settlements. And we are pleased it finds a favorable response from our shareholders. When the village council chairmen and other officials report on the work done during the past year, they often mention our enterprises at the meetings. It’s not for nothing, as we’ve really done a lot to develop and support the settlements.
– Which directions have received the most significant support from you?
– Last year, we directed most of the funds to provide welfare assistance to shareholders and to help them plow their household plots. A tangible amount was also spent on public services and amenities: household waste removal, snow removal on municipal roads, as well as road repairs. Actually, we didn’t deal with asphalt pavement installation – it’s too expensive, and that’ what state structures should do, but our enterprises were engaged in road piling procedures and other current repair works.
We also arranged holiday celebrations in the villages where our shareholders live. Moreover, we gave children presents at New Year’s matinees, not only to the shareholders’ children but also to all other little village dwellers.
– Your job presumes often communications with shareholders. Is it difficult to arrange communication with such a significant number of people?
– Communicating with people is a very important aspect of the social policy department operation. You can always find dissatisfied people, and their discontent is oftentimes driven by misunderstanding or blind rumors.
That’s why it’s important to talk with shareholders and hear them. It’s an essential task, as we have to know problems disturbing village inhabitants. Taking these issues into account, we are able to estimate necessary measures which have to be taken first.
– How do you arrange communication with your shareholders?
– Last year we held meetings with shareholders in villages. This year such meetings are also planned. Besides, we’ve drawn up a schedule to receive people and hear their issues in all settlements where our enterprises operate. Anyone can come to certain places and tell us about their problems, about their wishes or vision of the village development. Our community development workers are always present at a local level. All issues are recorded, and we try to do all in our power. Our company never ignores any requests.
– If your shareholders do not live in villages where your community development workers are located, or it is not convenient for them to come within the reception hours, how can they contact you then?
– We are open and approachable regarding any issues. Moreover, our objective is to hear everyone. Surely, we understand it’s not always convenient for people to come to see us. In addition, some of them would like to remain anonymous, for example. For these cases, we have phone hotlines. It’s a multi-channel phone which allows connecting authorized people assigned to each enterprise.
Our community development workers keep special registers in which they record all problems and requests regardless of the communication means by which this information was received. This approach allows analyzing our shareholders’ needs.
– Are any innovations planned in the company’s social policy this year?
– We’ve already developed our social policy budget for this year. According to this plan, we are introducing many new solutions. First of all, we work to launch our dedicated chat-bot. it’ll look like the community development worker’s internet page. We’ve conducted social surveys and found out that a significant part of our shareholders live outside the settlements where their lands are located. Besides, there are many young people. They feel more comfortable to receive the necessary information using the Internet.
– You have mentioned social surveys. Are they related to the shareholders’ needs?
– Yes, it was one of the main tasks of the survey – to identify our further development direction. According to the survey, people take interest in healthcare services most of all.
We’ve decided to conduct medical examinations in several villages. At the same time, we provided the services to all people, even if they are not our shareholders. Anybody who wanted to do so had the opportunity to undergo these examinations. We often encountered health issues requiring urgent treatment.
This year, I’d like to continue this initiative and conduct such medical examinations in other settlements. But there’s a need to make a number of practical arrangements.
– Apart from medical examinations and New Year’s matinees, what other events would you highlight?
– In fact, there many of them. I can’t recall all at once. Church construction in the village of Baykovka is one of our great achievements. People had already given up on the success. But we came to help, and their dream came true. Last year, an opening ceremony took place.
We’ve also assisted in repairs for the church in Suyemtsy village, namely, we’ve allocated funds to install a heating system.
We also held many promotion events in the villages. However, I would separately highlight the harvest festival in Olkhovets where our enterprise “Agro-Dniester” is based. We’ve invited performing artist and held a wonderful holiday. The village residents were pleased: they phoned and thanked us because their community center had no such events for a long time.
– Kusto Agro is tangibly helping villages…
– Without false modesty, I will say that it’s really so. We’ve recently revealed data on the funds allocated to social policy – they exceed the actual values over the planned ones by approximately 2.5 times. Generally, we steered 1.62 million UAH for the village development and social assistance.
– What caused this excess of the planned amount?
– In fact, several points affected initial planning. First of all, villages experience so many problems that it’s difficult to foresee everything. Therefore, many people appeal regarding issues not covered by the plan. However, if we can help to solve some issues, we do it, sort of, without checking with our planned budget. Another aspect is force majeure, say, the emergency situation in Kalinovka when ammunition was exploding in warehouses. Such circumstances are simply impossible to foresee and include into the budget, but it was unacceptable for to sit idle. On the first day of the disaster, our company prepared humanitarian aid and sent it to the affected. We sent ground pads, food products, medicines, and other victuals. We also involved our transport to evacuate people from the danger zone and provide first aid.
When the fire was localized, our company provided more than 400 sheets of asbestos slate to cover the damaged roofs, helping to overcome the explosion consequences.
Last year, natural disasters also caused damage to houses in the Berdychiv district. Abnormally large hail balls damaged residential premises, houses, and other buildings. Zhytomyr regional state administration requested enterprises conducting economic activities in the region to provide assistance to the affected.
Our company was one of the first to respond to the request. We purchased asbestos slate sheets for Sergiy Zhuk, an impaired ATO participant, the resident of Skraglivka village, to repair his damaged roof.
I would also like to mention our assistance to military units. We have had a tense situation in the east of the country for several years. Kusto Agro regularly provides fuel for military needs. We send food products as well.
– Moreover, Kusto Agro made public the data on the taxes paid. It is an impressive amount – more than 32 million UAH…
– We’ve paid considerable funds to the state and local budgets. That’s why we will pose a question on the efficient use of this money at this year’s local council chairmen meeting, asking the responsible authorities to report where and for what these assets are allocated. We are not only the sponsors but also the disciplined taxpayers. Moreover, it’s important for us that the funds we pay into the budgets would work for the villagers.