TOLOCHIN DISTRICT, 1 September (BelTA) – It is necessary to build high-tech new-type installations for storing harvested crops. Prime Minister of Belarus Roman Golovchenko made the statement as he visited Tolochin Tinned Food Factory, BelTA has learned.
Roman Golovchenko said: “Belarus has plenty of facilities to store harvested potatoes. As for vegetables and some fruits such as apples, our output exceeds our consumption many times over. Everything we need to preserve for ourselves and for the home market gets preserved. The quality of storage is another matter. There are various types of storage facilities and even the most unsophisticated ones allow storing the harvest in a normal condition till March. May and June are critical months for food preservation. To avoid withered apples and soft potatoes, we have to build storage facilities of a new kind using different technologies. It is not complicated but rather expensive, this is why we are gradually moving towards decommissioning old storage facilities and replacing them with newer ones.”
Crop preservation was discussed at premises of Tolochin Tinned Food Factory, which needs a new storage facility with a gas atmosphere for storing 20,000 tonnes of potatoes. “Building a cutting-edge storage facility is the idea. Potatoes are extremely sensitive to storage conditions and we want to use them to make French fries,” Roman Golovchenko clarified. “Certain storage requirements need to be met, including humidity and temperature. It is an expensive project. We've discussed it today and considered financing schemes, this is why we are going to definitely move in this direction.”
Roman Golovchenko pointed out that this year has provided a good harvest of not only headed cereals but also vegetables and fruits. “I'd like to emphasize that a sufficient amount of vegetables will be stored for retail, for public catering, and for social institutions,” he said. “The harvest is abundant, this is why prices are expected to go down. Last year's situation must not be repeated. Back then domestic prices rose largely due to rising prices in Russia – everyone was trying to export. This is why we looked at the domestic market and fixed prices to keep the products affordable here. Measures are being taken this year to increase guaranteed storage volumes by about 30%. Long-term contracts are being signed between retail chains, suppliers, and those, who will store these potatoes. Producers will rest assured their products will be bought while retailers will be assured they will have suppliers.”
According to Roman Golovchenko, so far contracts have been signed for about 40% of the total volume of potato consumption. The matter will be wrapped up soon and the price situation will become more stable and predictable.