SOLIGORSK, 22 September (BelTA) - The current situation in the country's cattle breeding industry is unacceptable; we need to act, to increase the responsibility of personnel for the results and to strengthen discipline, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko said at the plenary session of the nationwide seminar-conference held on 22 September to discuss the development of the country's cattle breeding industry.
According to the head of state, nationwide seminars on the most urgent issues of the economy has already become a useful tradition for the country. The current meeting is devoted to an important area for the country's agro-industrial complex - livestock breeding, and the sector has a lot of problems to address, the president said.
“We partially touched upon this topic at the meetings with the officials of Gomel Oblast and Grodno Oblast. Today we will consider this issue on a nationwide scale: we will try to take stock of the progress made, analyze mistakes, get familiar with the best practices and, I am sure, find new ways to improve efficiency,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said. “The current situation in the country's cattle breeding industry is simply unacceptable; we need to act, increase the responsibility of personnel for the results and, most importantly, to strengthen discipline.”
Cattle breeding plays a key role in the rural economy, the head of state emphasized. This sector produces more than half of all agricultural products and forms the country's export potential.
“Indeed, there are certain successes. The level of self-sufficiency in milk exceeds 260%, in meat - 130%. This means we fully ensure our own food security and sell the surplus to foreign markets,” the president said.
Last year Belarus earned over $8 billion on food products, and over $4 billion in January-August 2023. “At first glance, it looks good. But these figures are far from the ones we can have,” the Belarusian leader said. “After all, as you all know, the demand for food in the world is huge, prices are growing and will continue to grow, and new markets are opening up. It is simply a crime to sit idly in such a unique situation.”
It is vital to raise the domestic agriculture to a new level in order to earn more, he stressed.
The president mentioned the tactical plan for the development of the industry, which was developed back in 2019. The most important documents were also adopted, including strategies to develop the dairy and meat industries, the Rural Development Directive, the Agrarian Business Program, and a set of measures to step up fodder production). “We seem to have gone through all crucial points and taken everything into account,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said. He recalled that then the responsible officials promised to increase the production (cultivation) of livestock and poultry to two million tonnes by 2025, and milk production to up to 9.2 million tonnes.
The dairy herd productivity was to increase to at least 6,500 kilograms per cow, processing plants were to be loaded, the fodder base was to be qualitatively improved, cattle housing was to be upgraded, and breeding work was to make considerable progress.
The president turned to the main results achieved in the agro-industrial complex over the past 3.5 years and began with milk production figures: “The efforts to increase milk production are extremely slow. In 2022, we added only 1% to the level of 2021 (7.6 million tonnes). Judging objectively, this modest growth was provided by Brest Oblast, Grodno Oblast and Minsk Oblast only.”
The national average yield per cow was 5,518kg in 2022. The growth made only 2% and was ensured by the same three regions. “Gomel Oblast and Mogilev Oblast had it slightly over 4,000kg, while Vitebsk Oblast failed to reach even 4,000kg (3,960kg),” Aleksandr Lukashenko said. “Almost a quarter of all milk producers across the country and half of those in Mogilev Oblast and Gomel Oblast milked less than 3,000kg per cow on average. As many as 22 organizations did not reach the yield of 1,500kg per cow.
The president also named some anti-record-breakers, mentioning the annual yield per cow at 1,310kg in the Stolbunsky enterprise, Vetka District; 1,187kg at Sosnovy Bor, Chausy District; and 1,018kg at Ptich Agro, Petrikov district, Gomel Oblast.
“This is no longer a cow and not even a goat. If it has been brought to such a state, it will give milk nowhere,” Aleksandr Lukashenko noted.
According to him, the statistics of the current year is not encouraging, either.
“Negligence at the local level can nullify all the efforts the state is making to develop dairy production,” the president stated.