MINSK, 9 August (BelTA) – The sanctions have practically not affected agriculture. Taking into account good harvest projections this year, the industry is expected to grow, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko said at the meeting of the Council of Ministers held on 9 August to discuss the functioning of the country's economy under sanctions and measures to overcome them, BelTA has learned.
The head of state stressed the inadmissibility of negative production dynamics in agriculture. "What is unacceptable is the drop in production in agriculture. Not because we pay so much attention to this industry, but because the sanctions have practically not affected it. The sanctions benefit them. Our farmers have a green light in the Russian market. The most marginal market today is the Russian one,” the president said. "For agriculture, the sanctions are a blessing."
At the same time, he stressed the need to increase food supplies to China in order not to lose ground there.
Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed that the industry is expected to grow by 4% this year. "The new minister [Igor Brylo] promised it. Everyone in Belarus knows that the agricultural industry is expected to expand by 4% by the end of the year. We are blessed with a wonderful harvest for all kinds of crops this year," the head said.
The agriculture and food minister reported that this year the agricultural industry is facing an ambitious task: to reach $7.8 billion in exports, which will be $1.1 billion more over 2021.
However, the president emphasized that these blissful figures imply value terms. But one should not forget about production in physical terms, simply put, "in pieces". "I demand that, given these high prices, we reach last year's level in terms of physical volumes. Therefore, there is no need twisting things round here... If we sold in pieces, can you imagine how much more money we would earn," the Belarusian leader said.
Agriculture and Food Ministry Igor Brylo reported that today there are practically no stocks in warehouses and that exports are growing. As for the domestic market, volumes targets have been communicated to each region, supplies projections have been approved, and the situation is under control.
Aleksandr Lukashenko inquired about the information that there is a shortage of certain types of goods on the market. The minister admitted that there is a certain problem with tetrapak packaging and so far it has not been possible to replace it in full. "That's the only problem," he said.
In this regard, the president noted that people should get the product to which they are accustomed, albeit in a different packaging: "They do not consume tetrapak. People eat what's packaged in tetrapak. So you should tell people that, indeed, there are problems with tetrapak and that you will sell the same product, only in a different packaging. Igor Brylo in response explained that it takes time to readjust the production lines. "The war is raging. You need to readjust them in a day, overnight!" the head of state insisted.
The minister assured that everything possible will be done to keep the milk volumes in retail chains at previous levels.
Prime Minister Roman Golovchenko, in turn, noted that in addition to the packaging issue, there is this thing of surging exports as manufacturers find it more lucrative. Therefore, the situation on the domestic market is being controlled by administrative means. This is especially true for the city of Minsk, which does not have its own raw material zones.
In this regard, Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that the state invested considerable funds in the agricultural industry. Enterprises have cost advantages in a number of areas, and therefore, given the state support, the domestic market should be among the priorities.