MINSK, 1 April (BelTA) – Face masks made in Belarus are meant for the domestic market. The number one task is to meet Belarus' own needs, head of the domestic market and exhibitions departments of the Belarusian state light industry concern Bellegprom Svetlana Kakhro said at a regular meeting of the Expert Community project “Light Industry of Belarus: Challenges and Risks” in BelTA's press center on 1 April.
The Bellegprom representative commented on a possibility to export medical masks. “Our task is to meet our own needs, so that people will be able to buy masks in state-run and private pharmacies. This is our priority now,” she emphasized.
Svetlana Kakhro added that private companies also got involved. “These are the companies with underutilized capacities that have sewing equipment and staff. We help them launch production of face masks,” she said.
Gauze for face masks is made by the Baranovichi Cotton Production Association (Blakit), bandages are produced by Mogilev-based Lenta. Blakit has increased gauze production 2.5 times. The company also launched the production of fabric that can be used instead of gauze due to special treatment.
Some of companies affiliated with Bellegprom were repurposed to produce face masks. The output is growing and now it stands at 300,000 items a day. Last week Grodno-based MedLen rolled out disposable mask filters made of cotton and linen to enhance the protective properties of medical masks. At the same time, Bellegprom points out that it is not overfocused on mask production; the concern's product assortment remains the same.
The developments on the global market could not but have an impact on the Belarusian light industry concern. The whole situation is rather stressful for the concern, however, the concern believes that the domestic economy and consumers can benefit from it in some way. For example, domestic companies will be able to increase their market share on the domestic market, which will contribute to the country's import substitution effort.
A reminder, in order to supply Belarusian pharmacies with as many medical masks as needed, Bellegprom decided to temporarily repurpose some of its companies in order to increase the output of medical products. Now face masks will be made by 15 companies. The aggregate daily output is to be 550,000 masks.