VETKA, 28 April (BelTA) – It is necessary to improve farming standards as well as technological and labor discipline at agricultural enterprises. Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko made the statement during a conference with Gomel Oblast officials on 28 April, BelTA has learned.
“A number of things we need to address. If the oblast governor and the government don't talk about it, I will have to. Although it is the level of the oblast administration and the district administration,” Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked.
The situation in the fields
According to the president, Belarus' farming standards have improved but there are still problems. Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed it is necessary to use every opportunity to plant a new harvest as long as good weather lasts. “The sowing campaign is a short one but the entire year depends on it. The sooner you place seeds into the soil, you will get results,” he explained.
Aleksandr Lukashenko also drew attention to the field roads – the strips machines and vehicles use to move across fields. The president urged agricultural enterprises to be particularly careful with it: “When I fly over the country, I see thousands of hectares of winter crops and grass out of commission. Terrible to watch. You need a scheme of field roads in place.”
“Restore contours of the fields. If you neglected part of the field, restore it. It is part of farming standards. There will be concrete oversight over these matters,” the head of state added.
In some fields winter crops have failed to sprout and in some fields winter crops have died. Aleksandr Lukashenko gave instructions to “repair” the fields by sowing more seeds or resowing the crops completely. He also drew attention to the correct application of organic fertilizers in the fields.
“The handling of grass is disgusting. There is probably no need to keep grass for more than two years. It has to be reseeded. We should get forage from there. And try to wrap up haylage with film. You don't work with grass very well. It is on the backburner,” the president identified yet another problem.
During the government conference Aleksandr Lukashenko also touched upon land amelioration. He remarked that funding had been allocated for larger projects but agricultural enterprises should take care of smaller work on their own. “Wherever you can. Wherever you don't have to build dikes and the rest. If there are small shrubs and weeds somewhere, you have to cut them down, root them up, and get the parts of the fields back into use. And we will get thousands upon thousands of additional hectares like that,” the president said. “Get industrial enterprises involved. Can't Gomselmash cut down weeds on 1,000 hectares? They have to get involved in order to save lands. Because land amelioration is a good thing but working with an axe, with a spade is a separate kind of work.”
Old and new farms
“Back in the day you set an example by splitting these farms and getting rid of some. But even where you removed them, you left 10-15 hectares without ploughing. Why did you have to do it then? Removing the farm and ploughing the land near the farm was the idea after all. This is why remove the old ones and get new lands into crop rotation. Everything must be ploughed,” the head of state identified the task. “In the future we will remove everything from these old facilities and build new farms.”
He gave instructions to closely monitor the provision of cattle to the farms. “Why did we have to build these ‘palaces' if we don't use their full capacity? And if we use them at full capacity, why is the milk output per cow lower than the milk output per goat?” Aleksandr Lukashenko wondered.
“In the future all the agricultural workers will be concentrated in agrotowns and a large agricultural enterprise will have two large villages max. That's it. All the small ones, the so-called unpromising villages will go away,” he said.
But for now any village has abandoned household plots. Those are fertile lands that overgrow with weeds in time, Aleksandr Lukashenko noted. “Let's save them and plough them. We can plough them once and plant orchards,” he suggested. “It is important for us to keep people in these little villages. It is necessary for everyone, who was born there, for businessmen to build a home there and take care of this household plot.”
Aleksandr Lukashenko urged Belarusians to grab the opportunity: “You are in the center of Europe, at the crossroad of all roads. Take this plot but work it. Having half a hectare of land in the center of Europe is a treasure.”
“It is very bad that we cannot feed our people with cucumbers and tomatoes in spring. Very bad. Disgusting. This problem has to be solved this year or the next one. What would it take to build these greenhouses today? We know how to do all of it on our own,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed.
The head of state pointed out that there is no need to build greenhouses everywhere: it is necessary to build them in the agricultural enterprises that know how to operate them or where the relevant opportunities are available. “A greenhouse generates money. Just like milk you will be able to use greenhouses in order to earn money early and pay people,” he said.
“And then there are orchards. We have to root up the old ones fast and create new ones. We shouldn't have to import apples. Can't we make apples on our own like Poland does? We can. We just don't do it. And it is import substitution,” the president remarked.
“Personnel is the key factor. An executive needs iron power. And executives should not look over their shoulder. The measures must be military ones, the toughest ones. Don't wait for separate instructions. And discipline must be at the heart of everything. Everything will be futile without iron discipline. We will waste money and will grind ourselves: I will grind you while the oblast governor will grind his subordinates. This is why certain discipline must be established,” Aleksandr Lukashenko demanded.