Strengthening the Ukrainian economy by helping our own: a multitasking project from Astarta

Since 24 February 2022, hundreds of Ukrainian companies and thousands of volunteers have created a powerful humanitarian rear to help people who have been forced to live in the frontline areas. The flow of basic necessities and food parcels does not stop for a minute to support those who have lost their jobs and thus the ability to provide for their lives due to the war

After Russia's large-scale invasion, all civilised countries started sending humanitarian aid to Ukraine. Essentials, food packages, clothing, medicines and other items were accumulated at huge hubs in western Ukraine, and from there they were delivered to the regions that needed them.

Kits "made in Ukraine"

Astarta, an agro-industrial holding company, took a different approach, and after 24 February last year, together with the Believe in Yourself Foundation and partners, founded the Common Help UA humanitarian project. In the first days of the war, when the company saw the large displacement of people from the frontline areas, it contacted all the communities with which it had cooperated before the war. Being an agricultural company, Astarta thought from the very first days of the war about creating food parcels and sending them to people who needed them in the first place.

"We have connections with many communities and have seen how large chains are unable to deliver humanitarian aid to these regions because their supply chains have been completely disrupted. It was logical for us, as a food and agriculture company, to launch this project to provide quick targeted humanitarian support, especially with the involvement of displaced people who knew where these kits should be delivered in the first place. We provided them with employment and assistance," says Vyacheslav Chuk, Astarta's commercial director.

At the same time, the company focused its attention on manufacturers that had been working as partners in its ecosystem before the full-scale war. Therefore, Astarta began to engage grantmakers to buy products from small Ukrainian businesses to form humanitarian kits. This became a synergy that strengthened and is strengthening the internal economy of each community, enabling internally displaced people to get new jobs and help those in need in the frontline regions.

"As a national manufacturer with many reliable partners in Ukraine, we did not want to import products that we could produce ourselves. Our entrepreneurs would rather invest in their production to meet European standards than buy goods abroad," says Astarta's commercial director.

The goal is high standards

Goods for the food parcels are purchased at the expense of grantors working with Common Help UA and partially at the expense of Astarta. Depending on the request, the sets consist of 4 to 12 items. All manufacturers are Ukrainian. They comply with the principles of sustainable development, officially employ people, pay taxes, operate in a transparent business environment, use high-quality equipment and create a quality product.

For example, producers of canned meat: they must comply with food safety standards from HACCP to DSTU; they must pass a food audit and obtain quality certificates; and, of course, they must pack their products correctly. If all the requirements are met, the company can apply for Astarta's tender, where the product's conformity and price are checked.

"Strengthening the Ukrainian economy is our priority. We see how much grant aid is being allocated to Ukraine, and it should work not only for the Ukrainian defence industry but also for the economy. This is right and necessary," said Vyacheslav Chuk. - "These projects and money should go to enterprises and companies that build a transparent economy of the country. "Our mission is to become a bridge between those who subsidise and do not want to run into fraudsters and those companies that have good business but no funding. This is a mission to support domestic business to support the economy."

The goal of this Astarta project is to create conditions for businesses to become recognisable and popular after winning the competition due to the quality of their products. Also, by meeting high production standards, these companies will be able to export their products to the EU and compete with similar products there.

Partnership for victory

In July 2022, the Corado Canning Incorporated cannery learned about Common Help UA's charity project to form food parcels and joined it in September.

"Since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, our company has been going through difficult times. We tried to keep our staff and client base together and continue working. During this time, we have completed five large orders with Astarta and produced more than six thousand tonnes of products," Yulia Olefirenko, director of Corado Canning Incorporated, tells

The company has been operating in the Ukrainian market for over 25 years and has extensive experience and modern technology. "Corado Canning Incorporated produces canned food for many Ukrainian private labels and packs it in glass, tin and soft packaging. Prior to the full-scale invasion, the company's product range included more than 70 items, but now the company is not in a position to offer gourmet products, so it has focused on those products that are in demand.

For Common Help UA's food parcels, Corado Canning Incorporated produces canned beans because they are a "open and eat" product. This is a long-term storage product that does not require additional cooking - during the war, it is in great demand and is produced in large quantities.

"Before the project started, Astarta and I had no joint projects, but after 24 February 2022, businesses began to unite, and we found new forms of cooperation," says Yulia Olefirenko. - "We started with the supply of canned food for the Common Help UA charity project, and now Astarta supplies us with raw materials for canned food."

The work on new projects has enabled Corado Canning Incorporated to create jobs, and displaced people are invited to work there first and foremost - this is a principled position.

In the near future, the company plans to further increase its capacity and become completely energy independent (currently, it uses 50% of solar energy). Corado Canning Incorporated also plans to undergo a social audit to be able to work with international humanitarian companies.

Yulia Olefirenko says the following about further cooperation with Astarta: "It is important to support such projects because it is our social responsibility to keep Ukraine's economy going by paying taxes and creating new jobs. It is important for us to work openly and transparently with partners who share our goals and values. We work for victory and each project like this brings us closer to it."