Aleksandr Lukashenko holds session to discuss milk processing industry development

    Problems involved in the development of the milk-processing industry were discussed at a government session held by President of Belarus Aleksandr Lukashenko on 8 November.

    Milk processing is a leading branch of the Belarusian processing industry and is the largest exporter of agrarian products. In January-August 2012 it exported nearly $1.2 billion worth of dairy products.

    Therefore, further improvement of the industry is a priority of the national agrarian policy, including improvement via the merger of dairy enterprises into holding companies. A major player is believed to be able to more effectively promote products onto the market and keep the market position secure.

    Yet an examination of the situation regarding the enlargement of dairy enterprises has revealed some alarming trends that need to be addressed.

    With Grodno Oblast enterprises used as an example, these problems were discussed at the government session held by the head of state.

    An analysis indicated that enterprises had been sometimes enlarged without a clear strategy, no proper evaluation of the effectiveness of the move and its consequences and without taking into account opinions of directors of the enterprises.

    The director general of a Lida-based tinned milk factory, the director of a Novogrudok-based butter factory that had been merged with the Lida-based enterprise had been invited to attend the session.

    Grodno Oblast Governor Semyon Shapiro delivered a report on the progress in implementing the regional program for setting up major food manufacturers in the oblast.

    The enterprises were used to indicate pros and cons involved in the merger process.

    Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed that offhand mergers are out of the question. Every merger should be approached individually because it affects the destiny of the enterprise and the workers.

    “You have agreed to unite several milk-processing enterprises as well as meat-processing enterprises into holding companies and so on. But before you do it, evaluations have to be made. It is of vital importance to do it very delicately in order to avoid setting the process against those, who work there,” remarked the head of state.

    “I’d like to hear out the heads of the enterprises regarding how it is being done. As far as I know, the white collars in the oblast administration made a formal decision to merge the Lida-based enterprise, the Novogrudok-based one, I think, the Smorgon-based one, the Oshmiany-based one, and some other milk-processing enterprise into one pile. No plan was made, never mind a business plan. You didn’t even talk to the directors of the enterprises, didn’t convince them. You created a lot of problems,” stressed the President.

    Aleksandr Lukashenko continued that along with executives blue-collar workers failed to understand what was going on. It was not the first appeal to the President regarding the administration methods used in Grodno Oblast in dealing with executives and heads of enterprises. “It is more than an alarming matter. It raises the question point blank,” said Aleksandr Lukashenko.

    The President instructed Vice Premier of Belarus Mikhail Rusyi and Agriculture and Food Minister Leonid Zayats to constantly keep an eye on the enlargement of Belarusian milk-processing enterprises in order to timely correct negative trends.