Chapter 208: The Path of Spring (1)
Youngho had been insisting on natural farming for his grape farms that did not use any pesticides or chemicals. There was a reason why the farm’s production rate per unit area was lower than other large-scale farms, but his method made better-tasting grapes since healthy trees could endure damages by blight and harmful insects and many insects would disappear naturally when they matured after nibbling on leaves for a while.
Because there was an obvious difference of taste and flavor between grapes that was naturally grown and the ones grew with chemical treatments, Youngho grew his vines strongly without chemicals despite some loss.
On Zeynep Wine’s label, it was proudly written that the wine was produced with the organic farming method. Another reason that he did not want to use chemicals was to protect the health of the people who worked or lived on the farm.
People who had tasted Zeynep Wine noticed the subtle difference in its taste as soon as they had a sip on it. The reason that his wine was sold well in Russia was that it had a great taste.
“Brother, what would be the reason for the people who were used to drinking vodka like our wine? I’m sure I can produce a third more the amount of wine that I produce now if I used pesticides like the grape farm in Chile or California. It’d have been more profitable for you and myself too.”
Youngho was trying to explain the difficulty of natural farming. It was because Sergey had not called out the price yet.
“Alright, I won’t say that your wine’s famous because of my business skills. Can you just assign us more oak-aged wine?”
“You should know that there won’t be anyone who’d yell at mafias like me. It’s because I’m confident in the quality of my wine.”
“Have you been ever scared of mafias? You declared war on the first day we met. Remember?”
“Hahaha… I really had no idea who mafias were back then. I was bold because I was ignorant. How could I ever declare war against mafias now?”
In fact, Youngho never wanted war against mafias when he first met Sergey. He was just bluffing.
“Let’s stop beating around the bush but come to the conclusion. How about ten dollars for the regular wine, fifteen for two-year-old oak-aged wine, and twenty-five for three-year-old oak-aged wine?”
Youngho, who was applauding in his mind, showed a worrisome face.
“Brother, how will you be able to handle such high factory prices?”
‘We can sell every single of them. I’m confident.”
Sergey was confident since he had heard from many consumers in Southern Russia that the wine was underpriced.
“You’re not forcing people to buy them, right?”
“Phew, don’t be ridiculous. We are business people now, not mafias.”
It was a funny situation where a mafia was denying to be a mafia. In fact, Yaniv’s company had changed its overall atmosphere lately.
Yaniv’s men who were skillful and strong had all been assigned to the mercenary and security company, that they were more lawful commoners now. There were plenty of jobs for them in Russia even if Youngho did not get work requests for them. Their security company was advertised as a protection against the abuse of the public power to civilians. They were hired by people and defended them against corrupt policemen or officials, which was funny but it was the reality. Many private business owners or large corporations were being abused by tax authorities or policemen.
“Brother, do you know why there is an eraser attached to a pencil?”
“What are you trying to say now? I’ve suggested the highest prices already.”
“The eraser is used to get rid of miswritten things. Although pencils now fell behind pens, they still survived.”
“I see. I’ll erase the price I suggested previously and write it again. Twenty-seven dollars for three-year-aged wine. I can’t go higher than that!”
“It’s unfair for the producer if the distributor makes more profits than the producer. I’m going to give it up to you today. You used your eraser at the perfect timing.”
“This man has no shame! You’ve become a true merchant.”
“Hahaha… You’ll see how if you try surviving a year in Baku. And what should I do? I’m spending a lot on the farm in Kazakhstan. I hope you forgive me.”
“I still don’t understand why you’re into such farming. It’s not worthy.”
Youngho smiled brightly at Sergey who clicked his tongue. It was not possible for Sergey not to know why Youngho was making a farm in Kazakhstan.
Sergey said that the effect on production inducement of the solar panel factory and drone factory would be more than a hundred million dollars. If the final demand for a product was service, the production would affect all sectors of industry.
The activity of production itself would raise the employment rate and the investments for building factories would bring up domestic consumption. The factories would also encourage the growth of the transportation industry by commuting to and from work. As the virtuous circle between workers and consumption was achieved, the overall regional economy would be vitalized.
As listening to Sergey, Youngho realized that his business steps were huge achievements to the regional economy. Now he had something to brag before the president.
“I should study more about the economy, brother.”
“Why would you begin to study now? Take a smart person and let him work. You are better at starting businesses.”
“Are you trying to say that I’m stupid?”
“You’re a natural boss. Don’t let the numbers and figures take you down. It’s something that your underlings should do.”
“Can I give you some advice? I was reminded of some things when you talked about the pencil.”
“If it’s from your mouth, I’ll listen carefully.”
“The pencil with an eraser on top. It’s a great invention. The rigid attitudes and ways of thinking like the pens or fountain pens that are hard to remove once you’ve written something with them are only bound to underlings. It’s their limits since they can’t do whatever they want because they are not the owners, but a boss can have flexible and creative ways of thinking like the pencil that you can write and erase with. It’s because of your position since no one would point fingers at you…”
It had a huge impact on Youngho that he even felt like someone had hit him on his head hard. Suddenly his outlook was brightened.
Sergey’s words refreshed Youngho’s view and expanded his horizons.
He was saying that Youngho should have the eraser that could erase the fixed idea of failure and success, a new frame of thinking that was more suitable for his position as a boss.
Overjoyed, he hugged Sergey tightly.
“Hey, what’s wrong with you? I’m afraid people’s going to misunderstand us.”
“I’m doing it for them to misunderstand. If this goes into Mr. Yaniv’s ears, he’s going to dismiss you for the inappropriate business behavior. Then, I’ll take you to Kazakhstan immediately.”
“Stop saying the nonsense. Let’s sign on the contract already.”
“You told me to have a flexible attitude. Well, I’ll have to erase my words to scout you for my business.”
Then, Sergey also suggested a few ways for Arirang Farm and Serbian immigrants to get assimilated into the Kazakh society.
“You should, first, make a social welfare organization.”
“The Serbian people are already receiving full benefits of the social welfare that I provide”
Not minding Youngho’s joke, Sergey kept on.
“Kazakhstan is surely a huge country. There are so many people and towns in remote regions that are not benefited by civilization and social welfare. Those are places where the government’s influence does not reach. The country’s economy has developed rapidly in recent years but it is still a developing country.”
“You’re saying I should help people in remote regions. Then, I’ll naturally show the government that I’m doing charity work for people.”
“That’s a visible effect but the practical effect would be the young people who were benefited by your organization, they would be helpful for you in the future. If they received an opportunity to study in big cities because of you, they’d appreciate it for forever. Think about having those appreciative people in different parts of Kazakhstan. You won’t even have to try but Arirang Farm would hold a high status and unconditional supporters”
Traditionally, miners used to bring bird cages in a mine. People used to bring canaries but because of their high price, any birds that were sensitive to smell could be used. When the air was polluted in the mine, sensitive birds would die first and those birds were the barometers of the level of air pollution.
There had been so many damages due to air pollution that the miners even used birds as barometers.
Now there were various safety devices and air circulation machines and birds were no longer needed but the Serbian miners still brought birds as their old habits and enjoyed the sounds of birds.
Knowing their custom, Youngho brought birds whenever he visited the gold mines. It was a token of appreciation.
Nermin, who was in charge of the gold mines, greeted Youngho as he received the birdcage from him. He escorted Youngho to the office.
“Prince consort. You must be wondering how many gold bars have been accumulated by now.”
Youngho came to find out about that but he could not ask that when he had just met him. He was not so brazen to do that.
As the big door of the safe was open, the sunshine from the window reflected on the gold bars.
“Wow, how did you make so many already?”
“I’m afraid that the gold bar prices of the world might drop at this rate. They’re about a ton of gold.”
Adding the four-hundred kilograms of gold bars which were left after selling most of them to Shamakhi the grain importer with the ones that were produced until now neared a ton of gold bars but almost the same amount of gold bars were produced. The gold mines were like the legendary El Dorado.
“I can’t believe this much was produced in such short period of time although I knew the vein of gold was pretty thick.”
“We’d be able to produce two tons a year for a while. So we will be test-digging the mine next to this one. We have great equipment and the mine is quite stable. We can work much faster than before.”
Up until now, the miners had only dug up three mines in the whole minefield that was neglected by the Azerbaijani government. So, Nermin was eager to find out what other mines had in store.
“Nermin. There’s no need to hurry. We need heritage for our descendants, we don’t want to exhaust all of the resources in our generation.”
“These mines were closed only because the technology in the past could not keep the excavation work anymore. Our ancestors who were brought as mine slaves stopped mining in the mines where there would be the most gold, claiming that there was no more gold. It was to leave gold for their descendants. We only touched three out of fourteen mines. Our descendants would be able to produce more gold using more advanced technologies in the future.”
Youngho was excited to hear Nermin’s explanation.
The rest of the mines were filled with oak barrels but what if all of them were rich mines?
The first mine that collapsed was not dug by the miners anymore. It was now used as a natural refrigerator for oak barrels and now only two mines were producing gold. The thick vein recently discovered was now going to produce two tons of gold a year. It was such a wondrous and rich minefield.
Gold was a valuable resource that other countries were looking to secure. Many national banks from all over the world were gathering gold to prepare for the case when the international monetary system failed since the gold standard would revive.
It was said that the United States had 8,000 tons of gold stored and Germany has 3,000 tons but they were still collecting gold with high prices. This meant that the international financial market would stumble in the recent future.
Since the situation was like this, all of the gold produced here would be sold forcefully by the Azerbaijani government or Youngho’s excavation license would have been taken away if it was an official excavation.
He was lucky that he met the Serbian Kingdom’s descendants. Through the gold mines, Arirang Farm in Atyrau that would be a small kingdom, in the future would have power.