MINSK, 26 August (BelTA) – In the first half of 2019, Belarus' agricultural export totaled $2.577 billion, which was up 1.6% year-on-year, Aleksei Bogdanov, Head of the Central Office for Foreign Economic Activities of the Belarusian Agriculture and Food Ministry, told the media, BelTA has learned.
“In the first half of 2019, Belarus' export of agricultural and food products equaled $2.577 billion which was up 1.6% over the same period last year. Belarus exported agricultural products to 88 countries. We constantly work to diversify export and expand its geography. Belarus broke into twelve new markets, including Afghanistan, Pakistan, Thailand, Kenya, Libya, Mauritania, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Argentina. Belarus exported 1.15 million tonnes of dairy products, which was up 12.6% and amounted to $1.1 billion. The main export among dairy products was cheeses,” Aleksei Bogdanov said. “Some types of milk, mainly dry milk, are still subject to Russia's import restrictions. This is why Belarusian enterprises made a sensible decision to set aside more raw materials to make finished products. This helped boost both production and export of these goods.”
Rapeseed oil export surged by almost 30% in H1 2019. Export of flax fiber and gelatin was also on the rise. As for export of meat products, it declined in money terms to $418.2 million (86.6% as against the same period of last year) because Russia's food quality watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor introduced temporary restrictions on import of bone-in beef and cattle from countries which do not have an official spongiform encephalopathy status of the World Organization for Animal Health, including Belarus. The restrictions made Belarusian enterprises redistribute deliveries, develop compensation mechanisms and come with bone-in beef onto new markets. At the same time, Belarus' pork export rose 2.8 times and neared $3 million. Poultry export also went up 9.1% and totaled $128.3 million. Export of finished meat products and canned meat increased by 8.4%.
Export of Belarusian agricultural products to Russia accounted for around 80% of the total export (82.2% in 2018). In January-June 2019, export to Russia equaled $2.1 billion (0.6% down year-on-year). Export to the CIS member states, excluding Russia, was up 9.6% and reached $286 million.
In the first half of 2019, export of Belarusian agricultural and food products to the European Union member states grew by 22% over the same period last year, to China – by 73.1%. Among exports to countries of the distant arc, meat export demonstrated the fastest growth, increasing four times to $14.5 million, with beef export up 3.7 times and poultry export up 7.7 times. Export of finished meat products and canned meat increased five times.