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16 April 2024, 19:13

Lukashenko: There are still many untapped reserves in agriculture

MINSK, 16 April (BelTA) –  We have ensured the country’s food security but there are sill many untapped reserves in agriculture, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko said at a meeting to discuss rural development and efficiency of the agricultural sector, BelTA has learned.

"We, our generation, need to hold the country together. Draw on the experience: we have enough experience that we can draw on scale up," Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

"Today we have concentrated on negative things but this does not mean that everything is bad. Everything is much better than it was before. People are fed, at reasonable prices. You can see that we are trying to keep prices reasonable. Whatever some may say, still people are fed and clothed at reasonable prices. The country is food self-sufficient. But, as I told the industrialists, this is not enough. We can always export more. The world's population is growing, there are millions of undernourished people," the president said.

He stressed that this year the agricultural sector is expected to satisfy the domestic demand for milk, meat, eggs, vegetables, fruits and other products. "This is your main job," the head of state said. “Sort things out with the location of the stabilization stocks of apples, pears and so on. We should not spend foreign currency to buy apples from Poland or any other country. Sanctions or not, but they try to push their products and make money here."

Aleksandr Lukashenko once again turned to the problem of mediation in procurement of seeds, fodder or equipment. "God forbid the State Control Committee reports that you use some intermediary structures," he warned. “Make procurement purchases centralized. But if someone brings a product here and offers a lower price, we will gladly buy from them."

The president also touched upon the development of private farming in the country. He recalled that earlier this issue was not very pressing for Belarus as the priority effort went into saving agriculture as such. Times are different now.

"If a well-off private farm asks to lease a collective farm in Vitebsk Oblast or Mogilev Oblast, do it. State-owned farms will not take it in a wrong way today, though this was a factor 25 years ago, and I had to take it into account. If we started giving it all away, we would have had an agrarian revolution against it. Today, the private farms have proven their worth. If the private farmer is ready to work, give him a try. Let them work for two or three years on lease. We took such a step in Vitebsk Oblast and leased two kolkhozes to a private owner. I keep an eye on him. He seems to be working hard, making some money and investing it there. Such farmers are welcome," the head of state said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko also warned against corruption: "I ask you, guys, don't do this. I always say: it is better to be poor and free than rich behind bars. Please avoid intermediaries. Keep your purchases and sales under control yourself."

The president also promised to revisit housing programs in rural communities. "We will adjust these programs, especially next year. We need to study the problem this year," he said.
One of the most important issues, which Belarus worked on actively last year, is land reclamation. There are still many unresolved issues. "Some parts of Belarus are a sorry sight. We have neglected reclaimed lands. Now it is time we restore everything in three years. But I would very much like you to carry out crop-engineering work on at least 10, 20, 100 hectares in every farm, and thus we will restore reclaimed land at the national scale," Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

"Again, I'm not saying things are bad, but they could be better. I feel like it could be bad. We need to get business done for our children to live a better life. I don't think we told you many new things at this meeting. You know all of this and understand things very well. But once again, I do not want you to recreate the wheel. Let's aim for the results in the old way. Let's do what we know how to do and how we did before. Let's go this way, and we will have a result. Simultaneously, we will supply you with the smart tractor. We have already learned to make it. It has proved its worth. But I think that a traditional tractor has not yet run its course. Therefore, put things in order and keep an eye on discipline. You have to be an example for everyone. We need to mobilize," the Belarusian leader summed up.
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