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18 Apr 2018

Agriculture ministers of Belarus, Russia to meet in Moscow on 20 April

MINSK, 18 April (BelTA) – The heads of the Belarusian Agriculture and Food Ministry and the Agriculture Ministry of Russia are expected to hold a working meeting in Moscow on 20 April to discuss supplies of Belarusian food products to the Russian market, Belarus’ Agriculture and Food Minister Leonid Zayats told the media on 18 April, BelTA has learned.

“At the invitation of Russian Minister of Agriculture Alexander Tkachev we will participate in a meeting in Moscow on 20 April. We need to discuss the supply and demand for products delivered to the Russian and Belarusian markets, i.e. food balances, outline the lineup of products, volumes and delivery terms so that the two countries could link their economic interests. We will discuss the removal of temporary restrictions on Belarusian dairy and meat enterprises. We also need to work out common approaches, elements of the roadmap to remove the restrictions. The parties should clearly understand what needs to be done to remove these restrictions in time and avoid them in the future. We expect a positive conversation with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rosselkhoznadzor about the approaches of the two countries to protect the common market from low-quality food products,” said Leonid Zayats. It is possible that the development of the common diary market will be discussed during the working meeting.

The minister emphasized a favorable epizootic situation in Belarus. “We have already submitted such information to Russia. We will never allow products of questionable quality to be delivered to Russia, especially ASF. All our products undergo thorough veterinary and sanitary control before being delivered to the food market of Belarus, Russia and other countries,” he said.

On 10 April, the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance of Russia (Rosselkhoznadzor) imposed temporary restrictions on the supply of pork products from all over Belarus over the ASF virus allegedly found in Belarusian meat products. “If Russia imposed restrictions on deliveries because of Gomel Oblast, as it was stated, it would be necessary to comply with the principle of regionalization. It is necessary to close the region that supposedly carries a certain danger, but in no case the whole country. We are going to raise this issue and will insist that the restrictions were lifted,” said Leonid Zayats.

He also explained that the old pig farms in Belarus are closed not due to ASF, but for economic reasons. “Given the inexpediency of further operation of the farms that can not provide competitive production, we are forced to close the old complexes that do not bring any economic effect. Since 2013 the country has closed 417 such farms with a livestock of almost 250,000 head. 19 new pig complexes have been recently opened. Another five pig-breeding complexes will be built before 2020. There will be 24 new pig-breeding complexes in the country that will use the latest pork production technologies, which means they will produce cost-efficient and competitive products,” the minister said.

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