Nationwide teleconference to discuss harvesting campaign in Belarus

    Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko demanded to finish the harvesting campaign as soon as possible and take measures to minimize crop losses during the nationwide teleconference held on 2 August to discuss the 2017 harvesting campaign.

    “We need to complete the harvesting in the first half of August, or by 20 August at the latest,” the President said.

    Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that the situation is not simple. Due to the weather and other factors, the start of the spring planting season was postponed, and the crop ripened later than usual. “We are already 8 to 10 days behind the schedule,” he stated.

    “Now we have busy days. Along with grain crops farmers are also harvesting flax, perennial grasses, planting second crops, and many more. There is a short period of time left and we must drastically speed up all the processes to harvest grain crops without losing a single grain, and begin preparations for planting winter crops,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

    The President noted that at present the pace of harvesting  is extremely low: not more than 2-3% of the areas under grain crops per one day. “I would like to note that the state has done everything it could for a successful harvest campaign. Financial resources have been made available; agricultural companies have been provided with equipment (at least, no one complains about any issues with that). Last week I signed a corresponding instruction,” the head of state noted.

    However, some regions had poorly prepared for the harvest season. About 7-8% of combine harvesters had not been repaired in time. So had some grain dryers. Some agricultural companies are suffering a shortage of machine operators. Some had not taken proper care of the fuel provision or spare parts, which may be the reason for loss of working time.

    The President inquired about the progress in the harvest campaign, and cautioned against any book cooking. “The goal is to prevent losses. We cannot fertilize the soil with grain. We used to think, and I still hear this opinion that 8-10% of losses are acceptable. This is about 1 million tonnes of bread,” head of state said.

    Aleksandr Lukashenko also drew attention to the technology of harvesting taking into account the particularities of this year’s season and urged to maximize the use of grain drying facilities.

    Another important issue is people who are involved in reaping crops. “They should be provided with everything necessary. Trade unions are tasked with taking care of that,” the head of state said.

    “Last week I instructed the law-enforcement bodies to take the closest look at the harvest campaign. The control will be strict and based on the current legislation. The harvest is a matter of food safety for the country. We cannot allow any losses,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

    The President also issued instructions to provide necessary assistance to the private sector, including farms.

    According to the President, the agrarian sector of Belarus is at the stage of large-scale milk production, which means earnings for agricultural organizations.

    “We need to harvest our grain and stock up grass forage as soon as possible,” the Belarusian leader stressed.

    “Another goal of today’s meeting is to secure coordination and coherence in steps. We should add momentum to the whole harvesting process and avoid any crop losses,” the President said.

    Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed that weather cannot be blamed for problems in agriculture. “May God give us such weather every year. An ideal year for agriculture. We have great crops of forage, grain, potato, flax, beet and other vegetables,” the head of state noted.

    “There is still too much complacency and lack of order, which is unacceptable today. We need to pull ourselves together and take our crops off the field in time,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.