Ukrainian mustard company pushes on amid power crunch, supply concerns

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As rolling electricity blackouts continue in Ukraine, the country’s industries are struggling to cope. One factory in Vinnytsia is still running, for now. It came to France’s rescue earlier this year when the country ran out of mustard. FRANCE 24’s Gulliver Cragg reports.

When France ran out of mustard seed earlier this year, the director of the Vinnytsia Gastronomical Plant in Ukraine hastily developed some some new labels.

“When the war started we had to stop exporting to Belarus, and we managed to partially replace that with export to French distributors,” Lyubov Semenyuk said. “No one else had seeds, and for a while we did pretty well.”

But the war is making it hard to stay competitive – not least because Russian missiles keep cutting the power supply.

“There have been days when we had to run the generator for eight or 10 hours,” Semenyuk said. “That works out nearly twice as expensive as getting electricity from the grid.”

The glass jars stacked behind her reflect her biggest worry. She’s trying to stock up as much as possible in case her local supplier ceases production.

“Already lots of factories are working at reduced capacity, and some have shut down,” she said. “It’s going to be hard to rebuild the economy, very hard, because there will be a severe cashflow shortage.”

Ukraine’s power companies said on Sunday that they could now supply some 80 percent of the country’s electricity needs. But rolling blackouts are also expected to continue.

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© France Médias Monde graphic studio

by France24