Meeting to discuss spring field work

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  • 11:07

This year planting is more important for Belarus than ever, Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko said at the meeting to discuss spring field work.

“Planting has never been more important for Belarus than this year. Our field work will proceed against the backdrop of a hot conflict near our southern border,” the President said.

It is taking amidst the huge pressure on Russia, our major sales market and our main ally, the supplier of raw materials, as well as an unprecedented increase in global prices for hydrocarbons, fertilizers and food. In addition, dry weather has set in, the President added.

“Today grain is practically new gold or oil. It might even become more expensive. Since one of the world’s main suppliers - Ukraine - is unlikely to be able to conduct a full-fledged sowing campaign, prices will continue to rise. The UN no longer predicts, but expects famine in the poorest countries of the planet,” Aleksandr Lukashenko noted.

Belarus’ own food security is a priority now, the President stressed. “We must provide the Belarusian people with everything they need. We will provide our own people with domestic products. It is also important to create stabilization funds. Belarus has absolutely everything for this: arable land, domestic fertilizers, seeds, agricultural machinery (we do not just have it, we produce it), modern processing plants with great technology and competencies,” the Belarusian leader said.

“Naturally, we should not forget about plans to grow exports,” the head of state said outlining the priorities. According to him, in 2021 the export rose by more than 17%. “It was estimated at almost $7 billion, which was what we were striving for. This year we need to do even better,” the Belarusian leader said.

“Last year we shipped products to 110 countries. This is a record figure. Yet, Belarus has enough reserves to export even more,” the President is convinced. He believes that agricultural producers should take advantage of emerging opportunities to increase output and thus improve their financial standing.

“In 2022, the task is to produce about 9 million tons of grain. The government should stop kicking the can down the road. It should make sure this task is fulfilled, as well as the task to produce 700,000 tons of rapeseed and 5 million tons of sugar beet,” the head of state noted. In addition to that, processing enterprises of the agricultural complex should be provided with raw materials, and livestock producers should have high-grade feeds, the head of state added.

The President urged to strictly observe all industry regulations and technologies and called to toughen the responsibility for technological and organizational violations and quickly identify and eliminate shortcomings. "Laxity is over. We need to do everything possible and impossible to plant grain crops on time,” the Belarusian leader said.

"Moisture is not enough so we need to double the pace of planting. We need to finish it in ten days," Aleksandr Lukashenko demanded.

The President emphasized that the government took all the necessary measures to address such pressing issues as financing, fuel supply, preparation of equipment for planting. “Everything that needed to be done by the central government has already been done. All that remains is to fulfill the tasks on the ground. Yet, I get information that some regions are under-performing,” Aleksandr Lukashenko noted.

First of all, the President pointed to the issues with machinery, in particular, the low rate of preparation of energy-efficient tractors - about 80% in Vitebsk Oblast. “What is the problem? When will the repair of this equipment be completed? This pertains not only to tractors, but also to combine harvesters, grain drying complexes,” the head of state said. He urged to get the machinery ready beforehand, since there will be no time to do it during agricultural works.

“The equipment must be in perfect order,” the President said once again. He recalled his instruction for machinery producers like Gomselmash, MTZ, MAZ and others to help agricultural producers repair energy-efficient equipment and prepare it for planting works. The President was told that this instruction had been fulfilled.

Talking about important tasks for the near term, Aleksandr Lukashenko said that agricultural companies should have the sufficient number of machine operators.

“The second problem is the slow pace of procurement of mineral fertilizers. This is your responsibility,” the head of state said addressing Prime Minister Roman Golovchenko. “Make sure that agricultural companies receive the necessary fertilizers,” the President added. The state of affairs in Vitebsk Oblast, Mogilev Oblast and Gomel Oblast cause the greatest concern.

The President noted that Belarus produces potash, nitrogen, phosphorus and other fertilizers in sufficient quantities to meet the needs of the domestic agricultural complex. There should be enough of them on the ground.

“The third issue is the provision of seeds and plant protection products, and the fourth one is the provision of fuel,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

“Our seeds are ready, we have been working on it throughout the winter,” he continued. That small amount of seeds of some crops that are not produced in Belarus will be supplied by Russia. “According to the plan, Russia will provide us with all the seeds. Russia is also interested in this. And these are small volumes,” the Belarusian leader said.

As for fuel, domestic enterprises have enough fuel to meet their needs. The President added: “We must use the fuel that we have.”

According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, fake news and misinformation campaigns target even agriculture. He dispelled yet another lie about the shortage of sugar beet seeds.

“Even agriculture has to work against the backdrop of various fake news and information attacks,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said. For instance, it has been claimed recently that Belarus has a shortage of sugar beet seeds. But only clueless people, who know nothing about agriculture, can believe it, the President said.

“The seeds were prepared during the entire autumn and winter. And they are ready. What’s left is importing a certain amount of sugar beet seeds from Russia. The deliveries are in progress,” the head of state pointed out.

He also reminded he wants agrarians to make 5 million tonnes of sugar beet this year. The newly appointed Deputy Prime Minister Leonid Zayats had been given this task, too, the President explained. “If it is necessary to buy more sugar beet seeds for a greater harvest, you know where to buy them,” Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked.

After fake news about the shortage of sugar beet seeds was released, the President demanded detailed information about the state of affairs in this sphere and found no problems: “I don’t see problems. I simply want you to seed more in order to harvest up to 5 million tonnes of sugar beet because it will bring a lot of money.”

He pointed out that just like bread, salt, and a couple of other staple foods sugar beet is a strategic product: “You see that a war for sugar is going on now. Fortunately, only in retail.”

“This is why there is nothing extraordinary. Roll up your sleeves and start working,” the head of state summarized. “And improve discipline in the countryside, in agrotowns, district capitals, and even in oblast capitals. Minsk will join in and will provide the necessary aid and assistance. A sowing campaign gets done in no time at all. One week or two. You just have to wake up after winter and get ready to work during the year.”