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21 January 2020, 18:55

Russia's Udmurtia invites Belarus to team up to grow better potatoes

MINSK, 21 January (BelTA) – Russia's Republic of Udmurtia suggests that Belarus should consider the possibility of setting up a joint potato selection and seed center. The idea was discussed as Belarusian Agriculture and Food Minister Vladimir Grakun met with his Udmurt counterpart Olga Abramova, BelTA has learned.

Vladimir Grakun and Olga Abramova discussed bilateral cooperation in agribusiness and in agricultural education. In particular, the Russian delegation was interested in the Belarusian experience of potato and flax selection and seed farming. Although potato is a promising agricultural crop for this Russian region, the region imports most of the seeds. This is why the region is interested in developing domestic seed farming.

Olga Abramova noted that the Udmurt Agriculture and Food Ministry thinks highly of the work Belarusian scientists had done on new potato varieties. She suggested considering the possibility of setting up a joint potato selection and seed center. Negotiations will continue in the Applied Research Center for Potato, Fruit, and Vegetable Growing of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus today.

The delegation also intends to visit the Applied Research Center for Agriculture Mechanization and the state enterprise Experimental Plant to get familiar with the latest Belarusian agricultural machinery solutions for planting, post-germination treatment, harvesting, and pre-sale treatment.

Cooperation in training and additional training of agriculture specialists was also mentioned during the meeting. Specialists of the Udmurt Agriculture and Food Ministry studied the experience of Belarusian colleagues in the development of a vocational training system and suggested setting up a joint international agricultural education institution that would offer webinars, the sharing of the best practices, and internships at Belarusian and Udmurt enterprises.

The Republic of Udmurtia started offering optional agricultural training classes in secondary schools in 2019. A similar project is being successfully implemented in Belarus: as many as 400 classrooms were opened in secondary education institutions in 2018-2019 to offer agricultural training to over 2,400 senior school students. As part of the training they are offered an opportunity to get a close look at agricultural enterprises and choose their specific future careers.

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