MINSK, 23 July (BelTA) – It is necessary to increase the public grain stock up to 500,000 tonnes by the end of the harvesting season, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said at a nationwide conference to discuss harvesting on 23 July, BelTA has learned.
“Last year we exhausted all the grain reserves that we had. Nearly nothing is left. Public procurement will be a very sensitive issue this year. Everything we agreed on with peasants should be fulfilled. We should buy grain from them and use some of this grain to replenish the grain stock. This year and next year we should restock the reserves we once had. We need to harvest a million tonnes in order to replenish the grain stock and meet the domestic demand. We will have no shortage of grain crops, as this year the harvest is good. However, it is also desirable to additionally have grain stock [public grain stock] of not just 200,000-300,000, but 500,000 tonnes,” the head of state added.
This amount of grain stock can make up for bad harvest if any, and the extra can be sold abroad. “This is money, foreign currency. If we have grain reserves, they can be converted into foreign currency. Apart from that, who can guarantee that in a year or two we will not face another drought like last year's that resulted in a poor harvest? There is no guarantee. Therefore, the grain stock should be replenished,” Aleksandr Lukashenko underlined.
The president also demanded that public procurement of grain should be fulfilled without failure. “Public procurement is a must. There will be no persuading. All [regional executive committees] have signed agreements and received advance payments. Therefore, no complaints will be accepted. A million tonnes is nearly nothing in terms of the entire country. I am convinced that some peasants will be ready to sell even more this year. Most importantly, we should be able to buy this grain from them,” the head of state said.More about President