The developments of 2020 highlight the great value of food security, Chairman of the Belarusian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Vladimir Ulakhovich said during a discussion dedicated to food security as part of the Expert Community joint project of BelTA and the Belarusian Institute of Strategic Research (BISR) on 20 May.
Experts gave their take on the statement of Executive Director of the World Food Programme David Muldrow Beasley. The UN food relief agency chief told the UN Security Council in April that unless the world started acting immediately the humankind could be facing multiple famines of biblical proportions. “The situation we are experiencing has shifted the focus and changed our understanding of food security. It has demonstrated that this is one of the fundamental values for a state. This is in fact an indicator of competitiveness of a state today. In this regard Belarus looks very good,” Vladimir Ulakhovich said.
He believes that Belarus will fulfill its export targets this year. “There is a huge demand for foodstuffs. However, we should keep in mind that the general recession, the economic downturn will have an impact on trade relations when it comes to financing, new technology and investment projects,” he noted. This issue can be resolved through regulations, long-term planning and preservation of natural resources. “This also has to do with the export, because today export is not only about products, it is also about the depth of the manufacturing process, self-reliant fodder base and genetic material,” Vladimir Ulakhovich explained.
According to Aleksei Bogdanov, Head of the Central Office for Foreign Economic Activities of the Belarusian Agriculture and Food Ministry, in Q1 2020 Belarus exported $1.4 billion worth of products, up 9.8% over January-March 2019. “Every year the country produces about 7.4 million tonnes of milk, of which 60% is sold abroad. The output of meat is estimated at 1.2 million tonnes, of which 30% can be exported. The export of plant products is estimated at about $500 million and it keeps growing every year. Belarus exports $2.2 billion worth of dairy products. In 2019 the country's meat export approached $1 billion. This year the positive trends in food export remain in place,” he informed.
Belarus meets 80% of its needs in foodstuffs. The remaining 20% include products like citrus fruit, coffee, tea. “As to staple foods, like meat, dairy products and bread, we meet all domestic needs for these product types. About 99.9% of dairy, meat and bread sold in Belarusian stores are made in Belarus,” Aleksei Bogdanov said.