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16 May 2019

Belarus president unhappy about problems with food export to Russia

Belarus president unhappy about problems with food export to Russia

MINSK, 16 May (BelTA) – There are problems with the export of Belarusian food to Russia despite the previously signed balance documents. Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko stated the fact as he dealt with a number of personnel appointments on 16 May, BelTA has learned.

The head of state said: “As you can see, it is very difficult to work on our traditional markets these days. Moreover, Russia’s behavior is incomprehensible. We’ve even signed program documents on trade in milk, meat with them and we cannot fulfill them because they’ve closed their market. It is not good business if we agree how much we will sell to Russia and we can’t due to these brakes. It is a serious matter. We have to discuss the problem seriously at a high level, at the level of the governments.”

Aleksandr Lukashenko said he believes that perhaps Belarusian agricultural companies should not work extra hard to increase the production of meat and milk because it is not easy to export these products these days. “In the worst-case scenario we will have to keep up [the volume of production of] beef because it cannot be raised fast afterwards. But if the global demand for pork, poultry meat and the rest is large, we will be able to increase production fast if need be,” the president said.

“This is why we have to answer the question of whether we should work extra hard to increase the production of traditional goods. We should seek something new for the sake of import substitution. We still spend hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars on imports, particularly vegetables and fruits. We should produce them domestically. We should pay attention to these matters,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed.

Aleksandr Lukashenko wondered about the state of affairs not only in specific districts but in Brest Oblast as a whole. Vitaly Kulak has been appointed chairman of the Zhabinka District Executive Committee. He previously worked as the chairman of the Agriculture and Food Committee of the Brest Oblast Executive Committee. Vitaly Kulak informed Aleksandr Lukashenko about the state of agriculture in Brest Oblast. On the whole, all the plans are being fulfilled. The sowing campaign is nearly over. The crops that have been damaged, including with a recent drought spell, are getting the necessary treatment. Forage conservation is already in progress. Positive dynamics has been registered in animal husbandry industry, too.

Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed: “It always happens like that: some places get frostbites, some places get flooded, some places get drought-stricken. Last year taught us. This is why this year and possibly next year we should restore our reserves of forage, particularly grain. We need sufficient reserves. All kinds of things may happen. The climate has changed. Yes, we are accustomed to working in traditional ways, growing cereal crops, forage crops… I often speak about it already: the climate is changing, it is necessary to find new profitable crops. We need economic efficiency, not simply meat and milk.”

Aleksandr Lukashenko also wondered about reasons behind removing Yuri Bisun as the head of the Ivanovo District administration and appointing him head of the Pruzhany District Administration. Head of the Belarus President Administration Natalya Kochanova explained: “He is a strong administrator, who has worked as the chairman of the Ivanovo District Executive Committee for rather a long time. He is one of the experienced chairmen. His experience will come in handy in Pruzhany in order to accelerate the development of this district. This is why we’ve decided in favor of this horizontal personnel rotation.” On the whole, effectiveness metrics in Ivanovo District are better than those in Pruzhany District. Yuri Bisun is expected to secure positive dynamics in his new office.

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