Vasile Cireş, the director of the milk processing plant and of the enterprise Heuvelland from Logofteni village, Falesti district, has successfully developed a full business in the production of natural cheese. In the early 2000s, being forced to choose between "letting die" the business connected with milk production , and building from scratch a milk processing factory, he chose the latter. Although the task proved to be quite difficult, the action of Vasile Cireș was an inspiration that allowed him to close the value chain and thus become the master of the situation and of the entire production process.
The history of the milk factory and of the enterprise Heuvelland began in 2002 when Vasile Cireş, the director of the enterprise Logofăt-prim, chose not to beg the undertaking of the milk processing plant, which remained with debts of at least one million lei each year. Vasile Cireș thought then to process the milk by himself, so that no-one would be indebted.
Looking for partners
Without sufficient financial resources, he began by seeking partners with whom to build the factory - he made his offer public, and it didn't take long for those who were interested to sustain the idea to appear. From the three bidders in the Netherlands, he had chosen one who was a specialist and has activated for over 20 years in the field. Thus, the Moldovan- Dutch joint venture Heuvelland appeared, with 51% owned by the Moldovan partner and 49 % owned by the Dutch one.
An investment of 4,4 million lei
According to the partnership agreement, the Moldovan side undertook the commitment to build the plant, and the Dutch one to equip it with equipment and to bring to Moldova the technology for the production of Dutch cheese. The initial investment was of 4.4 million lei, of which 2.244 million lei came from Vasile Cireș and 2,156 million lei from the Dutch partner Van den Heuvell Dairy. So far, the initial investment has not been entirely recovered yet. The Dutch partner managed to recover the expenses, after which he sold his share to Vasile Cireș, who became the sole owner of the business.
A turnover of 8 million lei
Today Heuvelland is a business with an annual turnover of 6-8 million lei, but when it started processing milk in 2004, the turnover was more modest, of 3-5 million lei. Year after year the production volumes have increased, which has ensured a continuous development of the business. Even so, the plant is working at the moment at only 30% of its capacity. There are still many development opportunities. Vasile Cireș says that the recorded annual profit is relatively small, only 500-600 thousand annually, because, he says, when you make a natural product from the beginning you must be aware that you cannot count on big profits.
Tens of tons of cheese annually
The plant produces about 86 tons of cheese each year, yet sold only on the domestic market. But Vasile Cireș is far-sighted and plans to export to the neighboring countries in the near future. But now, he says, it is important to get the full appreciation of the local consumer. For this purposes, he has opened specialized boutiques in Chisinau where his products are being sold only. The products are delivered three times a week, always fresh and increasingly demanded by consumers - a confirmation that the production is one of quality and does not disappoint.
Organic farming - the key to a healthy society
A healthy society means a healthy nutrition - the businessman from Logofteni is convinced. Therefore, he put up a business not just for business sake, but also having a well defined purpose - to create an ecological product. Consequently, the whole process is very carefully monitored, so that nothing that could affect the quality of the final product would be accepted throughout the value chain - from the land on which they grow fodder for animals and ending with the production of cheese. Cows graze on the fields that were environmentally tested, like milk. Vasile Cireș hopes to obtain the Eco-label of the Republic of Moldova soon.
Difficulties successfully overcomed
The road from a company that grew cows to the building of a plant for milk processing and cheese production was difficult and arduous, with many potholes and problems, but Vasile Cireș managed to go through it successfully. That's because he had a well defined purpose - to create a hundred percent natural product. He doesn't exclude the fact, that there is an even more difficult road ahead, but he is prepared to go through it as well, because beyond all the difficulties there is the appreciation of the consumers, who are thinking about their own health and about the health of the future generations.