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Food security seen as foundation of successful economy in Belarus

MINSK (BelTA) – Food security is the foundation of a successful economy, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said during a ceremony held on 9 February to honor the best workers of the agricultural industry, BelTA has learned.

“Today, in this hall, we have gathered the people who devote all their energies to the land, by virtue of their profession or vocation. I want to sincerely thank all on behalf of the Belarusian people for the hard day-to-day work. All of you know that there is no easy bread. The past year was good for farmers, although the climatic conditions were difficult. However the weather often tests our farmers in our country. And again, you provided the country with bread and surpassed last year's results. For this we thank you deeply,” the head of state noted.

The president addressed special words of thanks to the harvest leaders. The highest yield was reported by OAO Gastellovskoye, Minsk District (almost 100 centners/ha). The Kremko and Svisloch agricultural production cooperatives of Grodno District had the yield of over 96 centners per hectare.

The livestock industry also had some achievements last year. For the first time in the country's history, the average annual yield of milk reached 5,000kg. However, many farms beat this result long ago. The leaders are Molodovo-Agro (Ivanovo District), Viteks (Uzda District), Agrokombinat Snov (Nesvizh District) and Larinovka (Orsha District). They produce over 10,000kg of milk per cow per year.

“All this contributes to the solid raw material base for the processing industry. In 2017 the food production rose by more than 3%. This is a good addition to the high level that we already had. The leading regions are Brest, Minsk and Grodno accounting for over 60% of this volume,” the president said.

Alexander Lukashenko believes that it was important to solve the problem with harvest storage. The country has built enough vegetable storage facilities, thanks to which organic fresh fruits and vegetables are now available in retail almost till the new harvest season.

The head of state stressed that there is a need to fix the problem with feed storage facilities. “We need good facilities. The decision was made, and it should be fulfilled,” the president said. In his view, it should lead to very good results.

“Belarus is ranked in the first group of countries with a high level of food security. This is the opinion of the international experts of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization,” the head of state said. “The per capita production of food in Belarus meets the level of the developed countries and exceeds the CIS countries across many indicators,” he added.

According to Alexander Lukashenko, while meeting the needs of the domestic market, Belarusian enterprises retain their export positions both in the post-Soviet space, in certain EU countries, and also across the Arab, Asian, African and Latin American regions. These are more than 60 countries.

According to the president, Belarusian dairy products have become one of the national brands. The country is among the world's top five dairy exporters. Belarus is the fourth largest exporter of cheese and fifth of skimmed milk powder. Belarus is in the top three in terms of butter trade. Today the national dairy industry produces more than 1,500 descriptions of products which are made exclusively of natural milk.

“We are the only ones in the post-Soviet space that have preserved the GOST standards, and they must be strictly observed,” the head of state said.

Domestic cheese makers have done a great job to substitute the Italian and French brands. Hard, soft, and blue cheesed made in Belarus are on par with its foreign analogues.

Meat products enjoy good reputation for their high quality as well. Belarus has preserved the traditional technologies of manufacturing meat products without using the additives, which extend the shelf-life of products but add nothing in terms of useful properties.

The president also stressed that Belarus is the world's eighth largest exporter of beef and poultry. The geography of sale covers more than 20 countries.

“The positions that Belarusian producers won on the world's major food markets are a huge step forward. It is important to preserve them and move forward,” the head of state said. “We produce our own agricultural machinery. This is a huge advantage for the state that is focused on the development of the agrarian sector,” he said.