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15 Aug 2014

Belarus should be self-sufficient in fruits and vegetables

SKIDEL, 15 August (BelTA) – Belarus can be self-sufficient in fruits and vegetables, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said as he visited the Skidelsky Agricultural Company on 15 August, BelTA has learned.

Grodno Oblast Governor Vladimir Kravtsov reported to the President that apples in the region are grown on the area of more than 4,000 hectares. The yields are higher here than average in the country. According to him, the only problem is the lack of storage facilities.

Minister of Agriculture and Food Leonid Zayats pointed out that the country consumes 90,000 tonnes of apples, a half of them are produced locally. At the same time, the apple storage facilities in the country are designed for 80,000 tonnes.

Alexander Lukashenko believes that the country needs to start producing enough fruits and vegetables to satisfy the domestic demand in full. In due time the country resolved the problem with potatoes and beetroot. "We can do it! We need to produce enough apples, fruits and give up on import. We can produce them ourselves," the President said. In his opinion, Belarus needs to choose the right technologies, study the experience of other countries.

When visiting the Progress-Vertelishki farm President got acquainted with the intensive fruit and berry production technologies used in contemporary horticulture. The fruit garden on the farm is one of the first gardens of industrial type in Belarus. Here, the farm grows more than 40 varieties of apple trees. In 2013, the harvest was more than 3,000 tonnes of apples and almost 1,500 tonnes of late varieties of apples which were put in storage. The farm also grows the blueberries and garden strawberries. For storage of apples the farm built storehouses for vegetables and fruit for 2,200 tonnes per season. The apple cold storage facility has a controlled gas environment. Apples are kept fresh from September to April and May, the losses are minimal. In 2009, a line was installed to sort the fruit by weight, diameter and color.

Alexander Lukashenko thinks that Progress-Vertelishki is the best farm in the country. In his opinion, it would make sense to send executives there to gain experience in successful farming, and also students of agricultural schools.

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