TOLOCHIN DISTRICT, 11 November (BelTA) - At the plenary session of the national workshop to discuss restoration and use of reclaimed lands in Belarus on 11 November Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko criticized the government and oblast executive committees for a slow pace in land reclamation as well as lack of discipline, BelTA has learned.
“I have information from the State Control Committee and the government and I can say it is alarming. I will voice only the main points. There were 412,000 hectares of previously reclaimed land in the country at the beginning of the five-year period. This land is in a deplorable condition. Simply said, due to the mismanagement they have turned into overgrown ditches and swamps. It was also our fault that we did not pay attention to it. We were all looking at how we could get more grain, more meat, milk to sell, get money, and so on. We forgot about the main thing that brings money - agriculture. People and land. We have paid little attention to the land,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko.
Only 27,500 hectares were returned into agricultural use in 2021, the president said. The government and oblast executive committees have been tasked to double or even triple this pace in 2022. “Then we will reach the right pace. All necessary decisions have been made. Reclamation works have been streamlined. In these difficult times additional Br66 million have been allocated from the national budget for the main works. Another Br15 million have been allocated for the purchase of domestic land reclamation machinery and equipment,” he said.
Aleksandr Lukashenko added that all the works must be carefully looked at. “Any theft, embezzlement is inadmissible. The chairman of the State Control Committee, who is present here, has got the corresponding instructions to monitor such matters. The control will be strict. The same pertains to equipment. We have calculated everything: expenses, production costs, everything. There is no extra money. The whole country will have to make efforts and work hard,” stressed the president.
The head of state said that if these 412,000 hectares of reclaimed land were effectively used today, the export of agricultural products would have doubled, and the yield would have been even higher.
“The government assured me that the measures taken in 2022 would return almost 55,000 hectares of land into agricultural use. But what have we got? By 1 November, we had had only 31,000 hectares. Count how much land you still have to put back into operation by the end of the year. We have less than two months until the end of the year. Let me tell you frankly: I am alarmed by this attitude. Moreover, the State Control Committee reports that problems, shortcomings, and facts of mismanagement are the same every year,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko.