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Lukashenko: We need to harvest at least 9.5m tonnes of grain in 2019

President 23.07.2019 | 11:08

MINSK, 23 July (BelTA) – We need to invest all our efforts in the ongoing harvest campaign, Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko said as he hosted a nationwide teleconference on harvest 2019, BelTA has learned.

“The outlook is good. The forecasts show that the gross yield on every crop will be higher than last year. This is why we need to put all-out efforts to harvest all our crops properly. We need to use all our reserves. We need to harvest at least 9.5 million tonnes of coleseed, grain maize, buckwheat and millet. Less is unacceptable. We need to involve all possible workforce and equipment to make up for what we lost in the previous years. The recipe for success is consistency, high working and technological discipline,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

The president noted that despite relatively good conditions, the current harvest campaign is complicated. The majority of crops is tall-growing, solid yet differs sharply in maturity. “I was informed that the harvest season started ten days later than usual. This means that we need to perform most of the work within two weeks and complete the harvest within 20 days,” the head of state said.

Another difficulty, in his words, is that grain harvesting coincides with the second cutting of grasses and the sowing of postharvest crops. “Our second task is to organize the work so that we could crop cereals (a priority, of course) and cut grasses. It is also important to plant postharvest crops where it is possible (the moisture levels are good) in order to get additional fodder. Flax needs to be cut too. We seldom have such a tight schedule on the fields,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

The head of state demanded to secure tough control over the production of flax straw and flax fiber, coleseed cultivation. “Coleseed is a high-yielding, profitable crop. Have you noticed that bees die in large numbers in Russia because they started sowing a lot of coleseed and failed to observe the plnat treatment timeline? Make sure this does not happen here,” he said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko also expressed concerns over a great number of deficiencies and faults revealed by the supervisory authorities. “Recklessness and overreporting. This is the violation of the law. The prosecutor general and the internal affairs minister need to pay close attention to the matter. We do not need these doctored figured. They do not produce money. They hamper planning for the future. I was briefed that there are not enough machine operators, poorly prepared harvesters and drying facilities, problems with the provision of fuel,” the head of state said.

According to the president, the provision of the agro-industrial sector with fuel during the harvest season is the task of the government. “The prime minister and the governors are responsible for the provision of the agricultural sector with fuel and everything necessary during the summer-autumn period,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

The president asked the governors about the real situation in the fields. He also inquired about the reasons for the failure to prepare farm machines and supply enough fuel for the agricultural companies. “I would like to see an objective picture, especially in Gomel Oblast. I am concerned with a slow harvesting pace in Gomel Oblast. The yields are low,” the head of state stressed.

Taking part in the teleconference are representatives of the Belarus President Administration, the Council of Ministers, the Agriculture and Food Ministry, the Prosecutor General's Office, the Internal Affairs Ministry, the State Control Committee, governors, presidential aides, and deputy chairpersons of the oblast executive committees and Minsk City Hall.

As Vice Premier Vladimir Dvornik told the media ahead of the teleconference, there are no unsolved issues related to the harvest campaign on part of the government, the Agriculture and Food Ministry, and oblast executive committees. “Today's main goal is to harvest the crops on time. We are waiting for good weather. If the weather is good, we will be able to complete harvest works on time,” he said.

As for the outlook for the harvest, Vladimir Dvornik said: “This year the harvest will be higher than we had last year.”

Belarus' Agriculture and Food Minister Anatoly Khotko echoed the opinion. “I think that we will harvest more than eight million tonnes [of grain]. Agrarians are very cautious about making forecasts. The harvest will be higher this year. We will secure the country's food security and provide our cattle breeding sector with everything necessary,” he said.

More than 40,000 people are involved in the country's harvest campaign this year. “Simultaneously we are working to harvest straw, prepare the soil for autumn works, sow coleseed and winter crops, build up fertilizer reserves. The scope of works is really big. This year we are involving agricultural students to help them get first-hand experience,” he said.

The minister assured that agricultural companies have enough fuel reserves. “Thanks to the president's support necessary loans have been allocated. The fuel reserves are enough to last for 21 days,” he explained.

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