30 Mar 2022
Situation in Ukraine
As Rijk Zwaan we are very worried and saddened by the terrible images of the war in Ukraine and the resulting casualties. It is heart-breaking to see that millions of people have been forced to flee their homes in search of safety. Within our organisation there is a great deal of concern about the situation and the safety of our colleagues, the local population and the farmers, growers and chain partners we work with. It deeply affects us to see so much suffering.
At Rijk Zwaan we always put people first, no matter where they come from. Ever since the war started in Ukraine, we have been doing our very best to help the employees affected by the conflict.
Shelter, food and medical aid
Ben Tax, member of the Rijk Zwaan board of directors, explains how the company is providing support: “Our colleagues in Ukraine are caught up in a horrific situation. We feel very strongly connected to them, which is why we are taking care of the primary basic needs for them and their families, such as shelter, food and medical aid. We have contact every day, and we are continuously reassessing how best we can help in line with everyone’s personal situation and needs.”
Rijk Zwaan also has subsidiaries in Germany, Hungary and Poland, which are arranging accommodation for colleagues from Ukraine and are also taking emergency supplies to the border. “There is a huge willingness to help,” says Arnold Reijers, Business Manager Central East Europe. “We are all part of the worldwide Rijk Zwaan family. I am thankful that colleagues in this region are prepared to help the people around them.”
Besides the fact that our company is providing for the primary basic needs of our Ukrainian employees, their 3,600-plus Rijk Zwaan colleagues from more than 30 countries around the world also feel closely involved in the situation and are keen to do something to help. We have therefore set up a fund for employee donations, which will be used to provide extra aid and to meet secondary basic needs.
Avoiding a food crisis
An unrestricted global movement of seed is of great importance to ensure worldwide food security, as endorsed by the International Seed Federation. The high-quality seeds supplied to farmers and growers today form the basis for new crop cycles and future harvests. In spite of the challenging situation, our colleagues in Ukraine are therefore also working hard to continue to supply vegetable seeds to the local farmers and growers in order to avoid the Ukrainian population also being hit by a food crisis.
Needless to say, we hope that peace will be restored very soon.
Board of Directors, Rijk Zwaan
Ben Tax, Kees Reinink and Marco van Leeuwen