MINSK DISTRICT, 14 May (BelTA) – It is necessary to fix the way food markets operate and to ensure access to them for farmers, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he toured a farmers' market near Minsk on 14 May, BelTA has learned.
Earlier, the president had given an instruction to build a farmers' market where anyone could sell products of their own make. Now the president wanted to know how his instruction was fulfilled.
“I wanted to see a farmers' market here, a place where any private or non-private vendor could bring their goods and sold them. This facility should be a good competitor to the Komarovsky market. Quality should be the competitive advantage of this market, so that any person who would come here to buy meat, dairy products and other things could see a facility of the 21st century,” Aleksandr Lukashenko noted.
The head of state was told that his instructions were fulfilled by and large and this facility sticks to the concept of a farmers' market. However, there are some issues that still need to be addressed. For example, there are people who want to come to the market and sell their products only on weekends. However, it is important for the owners of the facility that its premises are used as much as possible and throughout the week.
In this regard, the president gave an instruction to balance the interests of farmers, other vendors and the owners of the complex.
“For me, people are of paramount importance. I am from the countryside. I know what it means to grow something with your own hands and to be able to sell it. People should be able to freely sell their products and have an unobstructed access to the market,” the head of state said.
There was also a proposal to set up an organization that would buy products from farmers, individuals and then sell them on the market, by analogy with the Belarusian National Union of Consumer Societies (Belkoopsoyuz). In this case farmers would not have to rent places on the market on a regular basis, purchase cash registers, spend money on delivery, and so on.
Aleksandr Lukashenko generally supported this idea: “I have absolutely nothing against it. The main thing is to encourage people, if possible, to do farming. People will be interested in doing it if they know that someone will come to them, buy their products and they will earn money.”
“If we want businesses, farmers to grow, they should be given an opportunity to produce and sell their products,” the head of state stressed.
He noted that all food markets in the country should be put to rights and provide farmers with access to trading places. “We should come to grips with the way markets operate and see how things are with the Komarovsky market. Maybe intermediaries re-emerged there? We need to check this now and put things in order with all markets,” the president said.
“People should be able to freely sell their goods - both in the Komarovsky market and all other markets,” Aleksandr Lukashenko reiterated.
The president drew special attention to the safety of food products sold on the market. “Food safety is a must,” the Belarusian leader demanded.
The issue of possible changes in the ownerships structure of the Valerianovo shopping center was also discussed. It is needed to raise additional investments and improve the facility (the investors that helped build the facility included the agricultural complexes Zhdanovichi and Dzerzhinsky, Veles-Meat and Minsk Dairy Plant No.1).
The president asked what else is needed to be done to fully implement the concept and prevent this facility from turning into another large shopping center which are many in Minsk. The head of state was informed that all the premises of the shopping complex, including the first and second floors, will be utilized in the near future, after which it will be possible to objectively and fully assess how efficiently the facility operates.
“During this year, it is necessary to create a facility that will be frequented by people. Customer feedback about this place is not bad. According to reviews, people do their job well and the service is good. Yet, I want you to fulfill just one task: No matter what people grow – citrus fruit, watermelons, meat, milk, cheese and so on - they should have free access [to marketplaces] if we are building a country for people,” the president said.