Aleksandr Lukashenko appoints new Agriculture and Food Minister

  • 9
  • 6:45

Sergei Bartosh has been appointed Belarus’ Agriculture and Food Minister.

The meeting hosted by Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko was also attended by Deputy Prime Minister Leonid Zayats and First Deputy Head of the Belarus President Administration Maksim Ryzhenkov.

“I have chosen you over other candidates that were suggested to me a week ago. You have a good reputation. It is very important that a minister has the experience of running an agricultural enterprise. This is extremely important. This also pertains to industry. A minister or deputy prime minister should work their way up the career ladder and should have the experience of working as an industrial company chief. The same here,” the Belarusian leader said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that Sergei Bartosh has this experience under his belt. “You worked at an agricultural enterprise. You were an agronomist; you know all the processes well at the district level. You were in charge of the agricultural sector at the the regional level before you were promoted to a very high position of the Presidential aide. This offered you a fresh perspective on the problems in the countryside, which you know well as you worked on the ground. You seem to have the perfect age and experience for this position. This explains my decision to appoint you as the minister,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

“I see that we will be food sufficient this year. We will procure about one million tonnes of grain crops for state needs. We will procure the necessary amount of rapeseed. We already can see this coming. Everything is going well here. If we organize ourselves properly, we will have no problems with fodder grain. Now we need to get mobilized,” the Belarusian leader stressed.

According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, the country is in the middle of its harvesting campaign. “This is good. You probably remember from your experience, and so do I that it always feels better when half of the harvest is cropped. Because the most problematics areas are usually harvested in the first place. This is of crucial importance amid the current weather conditions. Those who have cropped the problematic areas, especially in the west (there were a lot of laid bread there, I saw it), they feel more or less confident today,” the head of state said.

For those who have missed the right opportunity, the situation is becoming more complicated following the recent heavy rain, Aleksandr Lukashenko said. “It is clear that fieldwork will be impossible for the next two days. Perhaps the situation will be better in some places as in your Gomel Oblast [Sergei Bartosh was President’s Aide, Inspector for Gomel Oblast]. I guess you did not have such heavy rain there,” he said.

“No, it was not heavy, but yet we had some,” Sergei Bartosh replied.

“It is good that you’ve got some rain. There is never too much rain for Gomel Oblast,” the President said.

He recalled himself saying that the weather in Belarus was either too dry or too wet. The weather this summer has proved it again. “Therefore we needed to be ready for such an amount of rain after 45 rainless days. So it happened. You see it, you know these problems. In these conditions we will have to ensure the country’s food security,” the Belarusian leader stressed.

There is currently a lot of work in the fields, Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed. It is necessary to harvest crops and also cut grass which began to grow actively following rainfall.

There is also a large scope of work on the fields following the cropping. “Straw making and, most importantly, winter crop sowing. Rapeseed is sown everywhere. It is also turn for winter barley. We need to sow these crops. We need to quickly free the fields for sowing winter crops. We currently have a lot of work to do in the fields. I warned you about this at the recent government conference,” the head of state said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko made a special emphasis on the winter crop sowing: “Today, the main attention should be paid to the sowing of winter crops. I have already said it in regard with Vitebsk Oblast, Mogilev Oblast. All the regions, especially the northern part of Belarus, it is very important to sow these crops in time. Winter rapeseed and barley. We need to do this fast in order to start harvesting them earlier next year. When harvesting ends in Brest Oblast (the south of Belarus) we only start harvesting in Vitebsk Oblast due to weather conditions. Therefore, there is only one way out - to sow crops that we will be able to harvest early, at least in mid-July. There should be at least half of such crops in Vitebsk Oblast. We need to do this no matter how difficult it may be.”

It is also important that the new minister knows Gomel Oblast well, the President said. “We need to do our best to improve the situation in Gomel Oblast. You can see the state of affairs there better than me. Ivan Krupko [Gomel Oblast Governor and former agriculture and food minister] is there, he wants to work, knows a lot about agriculture. He will need help, of course. We also have a lot of issues to be dealt with in Mogilev Oblast and Vitebsk Oblast. Issues should be also addressed in Minsk Oblast, a huge region of the country,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.