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4 Sep 2023

Key takeaways from Lukashenko’s meeting on pig breeding industry

Key takeaways from Lukashenko’s meeting on pig breeding industry

MINSK, 4 September (BelTA) - The pig breeding industry development prospects were discussed at a government meeting chaired by Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko on 4 September, BelTA has learned.

The situation in each region was analyzed separately. Governors reported in detail on the state of affairs in the pork industry at the regional level. The participants of the meeting discussed possible decisions regarding loss-making pig breeding complexes that use outdated technologies. Whether it is expedient to demolish them and build new ones or whether they should be reconstructed. The answer to these questions will be sought by all the stakeholders while working on a special program, which the head of state has instructed to develop.

The president’s main message is to move towards the development of high-tech complexes, both as part of their modernization and construction. A detailed regional analysis will be conducted to determine the complexes that should be built or reconstructed, as well as the assistance from the government.

Aleksandr Lukashenko instructed to pay special attention to the profitability of both newly constructed facilities and the existing ones. If, for example, some complexes are deeply unprofitable, there is no need to artificially support them, trying to save them at any cost.

Compliance with technological and labor discipline and order at pig farms is a matter of national importance, the president emphasized at the beginning of the meeting. He repeated his demand to ensure both during the discussion of the topic with the participants of the meeting. This issue is of particular importance in the context of biological protection of complexes, including against African swine fever, which once had a negative impact on the country's pork industry.

Pork imports were also discussed during the meeting. It was emphasized that the country produces enough pork to meet its own needs. Pork is imported mainly for the needs of the meat processing industry and only from the countries which offer the best prices.

Minsk Oblast Governor Aleksandr Turchin told reporters after the meeting that the industry was transforming and moving forward, with technological indicators improving: “We already understand that with the fewer number of head but thanks to better gain weight we can get pork volumes necessary for our country to meet the people's needs and ensure the operation of the country’s processing industry.”

According to the governor, one of the main results of the meeting was the decision to work out a program to develop the national pig breeding industry within the next few years. Its goal is to upgrade pig farms to ensure the necessary volume of pork production. “The construction of advanced pig farms means not only technology, but also protection against certain diseases accumulated in old pig farms,” he emphasized.

Speaking about the situation in Minsk Oblast, Aleksandr Turchin said that the president's instruction to reach the pork production level of 2012 in the region had been fulfilled and even over-fulfilled. Modern pig farms help achieve higher economic efficiency indicators. “Many thanks to the head of state, he heard and supported us. This included technical re-equipment of the industry and the construction of new pig farms. We [in the region] have seven pig farms which are more than 30 years old. For a number of reasons, they cannot achieve the results we need to be competitive with our neighboring countries,” the Minsk Oblast governor said.

He also considers it important to calculate the necessary production volume to fully meet the needs. “I believe that when we talk about food security, we should clearly understand that we need to rely on ourselves. Imports are all well and good, but sometimes there are situations when imports stop overnight, and we can face a number of serious problems,” Aleksandr Turchin said.

According to Grodno Oblast Governor Vladimir Karanik, the region produces more than a quarter of all pork in the country. There are various pig farms in operation, but he considers complexes for 24,000 heads to be the best ones. “In order to ensure safety, reduce risks and environmental load, 24,000 heads seem to be optimal. The design of new complexes as well as reconstruction efforts is carried out with these figures in mind,” he said.

“We should put economic efficiency at the top of the list. Unfortunately, not all our complexes work with positive financial results today. The region in general shows positive results and they are the highest across the country. We are looking at the details, however. We must either re-profile or reconstruct the complexes that cannot ensure efficient work at the moment. Or we need to build new complexes in order to ensure more comfortable and cost-effective working conditions,” Vladimir Karanik said.

In his words, the president emphasized the need to achieve economic efficiency in the first place.

“If we take the needs of Belarus, our agro-industrial complex fully meets them. As for the needs of people, the country's enterprises meet their needs in pork. We should understand that meat is also a product for our processing enterprises, which have a good export potential. This means that part of the pork is processed to make products for export,” the governor said. “This is where many producers prioritize economic efficiency. If Russian pork is cheaper, they buy it to make their export supplies cheaper. That is why we can say for sure that there is no deficit of pork in the country. Only a quarter of the pork produced in Grodno Oblast goes to store shelves. The rest is used for processing purposes.”

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