TOLOCHIN DISTRICT, 11 November (BelTA) – The issue of whether or not Belarus should continue with land reclamation is not even on the agenda: every piece of land should be used for the benefit of the country, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko said at the plenary session of the national workshop to discuss restoration and use of reclaimed lands, BelTA has learned.
"Today we are talking about the most important thing - about land reclamation. We can't delay it. We need to, as in wartime conditions, gird our loins and solve this problem. We can do it," Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed.
The president recalled that this work began in the 1970s and lasted almost 20 years. In terms of scale and significance for Belarus, it was, in fact, similar to the electrification plan of the young USSR.
According to the head of state, enormous forces and means were invested in this. In Belarus, part of swamps was turned into arable fields and agriculture was revived. "Intensification of production and change of rural life are the two main positive results of this work," the president said.
Reclaimed land in Belarus account for 37% of all farmland - almost 3 million hectares. Most of them, 80%, are in Brest, Vitebsk, Gomel and Minsk regions. "These lands produce a third of crop production, including more than half of green fodder needed for animal husbandry. Therefore, The issue of whether or not Belarus should continue with land reclamation is not even on the agenda today. My strictest requirement remains the same: every piece of such land should be used for the benefit of the country," Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed.
The head of state demanded that these works be financed, among other things, by enterprises themselves. "It's justified. Today, we have set ourselves a target of $8 billion in exports. Firstly, we can earn this money. Secondly, you will develop these agricultural lands with our help in order to recoup these projects later. The government will provide some financing. But you have to be involved too. Let it be two kopecks, but you must invest in order to value it afterwards," Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
"In order to set priorities, to outline the strategy and tactics, we are holding this meeting in an expanded format today," he added.