Agriculture is very important to Belarus, accounting for 7.8% of the country’s GDP and providing a valuable source of foreign exchange via a healthy export market. Total production was worth US $11.2 billion in 2008, , which was 33% more than in 2007, and at present 43% of the republic’s land is turned over to farming.
The country’s main agricultural products are potatoes (it is the world’s eighth biggest producer) and cereals – with arable farming accounting for 55% of output, and livestock (cows, pigs and fowl) making up 45%. Among other products produced are vegetables, fruits, meat, diary products. Much of this is exported to neighbouring states, with Russia a major market.
Traditionally, the farms in Belarus were state-run collectives, but many of these have now been privatised and sold to foreign investors, greatly increasing their productivity. Several of the remaining state-owned farms are seeking foreign investment, including some enterprises with a turnover of US $50 million a year.