What is happiness?
Is it a feeling? A choice?
What brings people happiness?
These are questions that inspired MEDA’s Ukrainian Horticulture Business Project (UHBDP) team to create a happiness survey for their clients.
In Ukraine, we are working with over 34,000 men and women – the majority being small-holder fruit and vegetable producers. It is these people that we chose to pose these questions to.
According to the World Happiness Report 2017, Ukraine ranked 138 out of 156 on the happiness scale.
This surprised me, as I expected us to score higher based on UHBDP’s happiness survey and my own personal experience being a content citizen of Ukraine.
Understanding the happiness of our clients is important, because when we understand the satisfaction and wellbeing of our clients, we are better able to tailor new plans and future activities that cultivate a positive horticulture business environment in Ukraine.
In February, we surveyed about 300 participants; asking them detailed questions about their current state of happiness. 50% of respondents were producers of fruits and vegetables, 30% were other market actors like traders, service firms, students of agricultural universities etc.. The last 20% were made up by UHBDP staff and key facilitating partners.
Our UHBDP Happiness Project is a survey that measures the happiness and wellbeing of UHBDP clients. This survey attracted hundreds of participants. Respondents were producers of fruits/vegetables and other market actors like traders, service firms, media, students of agricultural universities, UHBDP staff and our key facilitating partners.
“Happiness is not tons and kilograms of fruits and vegetables, it’s not measured in money. For us, happiness is when our projects are developing successfully! To our partners who buy our seedlings, we are happy that we have a strong business relationship with them. It is important for me that those people who were once skeptical now trust us.”
– Producer and exporter of seedlings
The results of our survey proved that we were right.
Ukrainians are happy people.
We found that 88% of our clients are happy, and that 74% of respondents were happy with their work and occupation.
When we asked our clients to list things that made them happy, monetary income was not considered the most important factor. Instead, people listed family ties and health that was the most important measurement of happiness.
“I can say with confidence that people who work for medium-sized businesses feel good and are happy. Their happiness stems from the fact that they are doing good work, work that they love. They are passionate about agriculture and finding ways to do better. These people also have hobbies outside of their work. Often, these farmers are the second in their generation. They are successful. This means that they can focus on learning and applying new technologies to their business while attracting potential investors.
Yes, there are difficulties. The military conflict being one. But we cannot control this, and so, I try to be positive and live with joy.”
– Coordinator of agribusiness development project
When people do good work that they are passionate about, their happiness increases. However, it is also important to have a life outside of your work. Having meaningful work and hobbies is incredibly important to having a positive and joyful outlook on life.
“Farmers are happy people! They are positive and love their work! The main indicator of happiness is doing what you love. This brings moral satisfaction livelihood. In the agricultural sector you can achieve a lot and be happy. I would rank my happiness 8 out of 10. There is still a little ways to go. But, if a person is completely happy, he or she does not have the incentive to grow.”
– Editor of Agricultural Journal
The life and work of our farmers are one. The small farmer doesn’t work 9 to 5. When one chooses agriculture, all aspects of life integrate. Very few small farmers ever expect to achieve great wealth, so the quality of life is incredibly important.
“Doing well” for UHBDP means being a champion of environmental sustainability, an advocate for gender equality, providing access to information and assisting our clients implement technology advances and providing a matching grant program.
Although UHBDP can’t secure the happiness of all of our clients, we can attempt to influence certain areas of life and work. We are sure that our activities and services are valuable and offer our clients a chance to have good work that they are passionate about.