MINSK, 29 July (BelTA) – All necessary measures have been taken to ensure food security in Belarus, Agriculture and Food Minister Ivan Krupko said during a video conference hosted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, BelTA learned from the press service of the Belarusian Agriculture and Food Ministry.
The heads of the agriculture ministries of Belarus, Romania and Moldova, together with FAO, discussed the impact of COVID-19 on agro-industrial production and trade. According to Ivan Krupko, the state agrarian policy and response measures taken in Belarus help foresee changes on the food market both in the country and beyond its borders. This can be seen in the figures of the foreign trade in January-May 2020. The export of agricultural products and food made up $2.2 billion, up 4.4%. The export includes almost all the categories of goods, from meat and dairy products to beverages and confectionery.
According to the minister, this year, Belarus has maintained positive trends in agricultural production, domestic market supply and trade development. In January-June 2020, the agricultural output stood at 3.7%. Milk production increased by 6% against January-June 2019, livestock and poultry - by 5.7%. The growth of raw materials production secured positive developments in the processing and production of finished foodstuffs. In H1 2020, the production of food and beverages grew 4.4% in comparable prices.
According to FAO, COVID-19 has had a major impact on the world agricultural sector, resulting in limited access to the necessary production and financial resources. The pandemic has had an impact on the hotel, restaurant and catering industries, as well as on transport restrictions, higher input prices, and reduced liquidity for farmers, processing companies and traders.
“We are witnessing numerous economic, environmental and human health crises. Countries are clearly aware that cooperation, sharing of best practices and information can provide new opportunities to address these challenges. FAO has 75 years of experience in this area, and we strongly believe in the strong catalytic power of joint action,” said Vladimir Rahmanin, FAO Deputy Director-General and Regional Representative for Europe and Central Asia.
Attending the meeting were representatives of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the International Fund for Agricultural Development, who confirmed their intention to support the agricultural sector in this situation.
Belarus joined FAO in 2005. The key areas of cooperation include agriculture and forestry and natural resources management, which contribute to rural development.