Nikolai Kiktenko, the director of “Gospodarul Rediu” enterprise, located in Rediul de Sus village, Falesti district, is the largest producer of walnut seedlings in Moldova. The farmer is strongly convinced that the historical premises and favorable climatic conditions allow the cultivation of this miraculous fruit in Moldova, which can become an inexhaustible source of wealth for our country.
Up to the moment Nikolai Kiktenko has dedicated more than 45 years of his life to studying and growing the walnut. He invested money and effort in discovering all the secrets of this tree, and today he can be considered one of the best connoisseurs of walnut. During these years, he managed to graft thousands of saplings and has developed his own planting technique, so that the costs for growing a walnut plantation could be recovered even starting from the first years, when the orchard is not yet fruitful.
Today, the entrepreneur is proud of his seedlings plantation, which is the largest in Moldova, and produces about 50-70 thousand saplings annually on 15 hectars of land. He signs over 200 contracts of sale, the number of which increases with every year. His collection has over 90 varieties of nuts of Moldovan, Ukrainian, Romanian, Hungarian, Bulgarian selection. So far, the saplings, grown at “Gospodarul Rediu” have been already planted on over three thousand hectares of land in Moldova, over 1,000 ha in Ukraine and more than 800 ha in Romania.
Nikolai Kiktenko is happy to share his experience and vast knowledge accumulated so far with the people who want to plant nuts – his “pupils” come from different areas, but all of them tend to invest their money wisely. He has established a golden rule according to which he sell his seedling only to those people who attend his seminars, where he teaches future buyers the planting rules. Respectively, together with the sale of saplings, Nikolai Kiktenko “sells” the recipe for walnuts cultivation, in order to be sure that his seedlings will be fruitful, and the clients will be very pleased with their investment. Therefore, those who “have eyes to see and ears to hear” have nothing else, but to win.
In order to obtain the so much desired future profit, as well as to recover the investment right from the start, the entrepreneur recommends intercropping planting in the walnut orchard. It is recommended to plant plum trees, different shrubs or vegetables among rows of walnut saplings in their early years, until the nut gains strength.
The farmer uses no fertilizers for his land, except for the organic products. Furthermore, the orchards are kept in an ideal condition by sheep, which graze freely among the trees, being used as “herbicides”. Nikolai Kiktenko does not use irrigation in the process of saplings growing, as well as in case of the mature nuts that already produce crops. The reason for this is that the farmer is guided by the principle of Darwin – “the strongest survives”.
Under the conditions, where other agricultural plants depend on the “whims” of politics and weather conditions, Nikolai Kiktenko strongly believes that walnut in Moldova has no alternative and constitutes the main source of economic survival of the country.
“The demand for nuts on the international market is unlimited – we can export to France, Turkey, Greece, Saudi Arabia and many other countries, where there is a high demand for this product. Over the next 50 years the demand for nuts on the international market will not be saturated. There are no better climatic conditions for walnut cultivation, than the ones we have in Moldova.”
Probably, the great merit of Nikolai Kiktenko is not the fact that he managed to establish and develop a successful and a highly profitable business, but the fact that he succeeded in “grafting” the love for walnuts to a large number of people, who in their turn, have started their own businesses, based on walnut growing.
At the age of 67, Nikolai Kiktenko does not feel old, and the years have not diminished his enthusiasm, energy and desire to improve. He says that when a person has goals, his sub consciousness programs itself for a long life. He strongly believes that in order to be successful, you have to think positive, to set up plans and accomplish them with confidence.