Working trip to Minsk District

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Starting 2015 forest utilization in Belarus has to reach standards of advanced economies, primarily Finland. Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko gave the relevant instructions as he visited the national forestry breeding and seed production center on 19 August.

“Let us agree that starting next year we should work the way they work in Finland, using integrated approaches for cultivation and growing technologies. It is time to stop squandering forest resources!” the President stressed.

Aleksandr Lukashenko reminded that when he appointed Mikhail Amelyanovich Forestry Minister, he gave instructions to study forest utilization practices of advanced economies and assimilate the best practices in Belarus. The entire process flow has to be compliant with the highest standards, stressed the President. “Only this kind of the workflow organization and industrial standards must be practiced starting next year!” he added. The head of state said that the same kind of standards should be sought as far as the economic side of the forestry industry is concerned.

“We need order in the forest. It is our legacy,” the President emphasized.

Aleksandr Lukashenko pointed out that a wide range of forest-harvesting machines had been created in Belarus. According to Alexander Shakutin, Chairman of the Board of Directors of OAO Amkodor, the managing company of the holding company Amkodor, the company started manufacturing machines for the forestry industry in 2006. Since then the company has mastered the production of 17 models. The localization level is roughly 60% but it is supposed to reach 90% within the next two years. The Forestry Minister remarked that the industry’s retooling allowed increasing forest harvesting up to nearly 11 million m3 of timber in 2013. Multifunction forest harvesters were used to secure 34% of the total harvested volume.

Amkodor’s product range was demonstrated before Aleksandr Lukashenko. The President was all in all pleased with what he saw but gave instructions to raise the localization level.

The head of state asked the attendees whether Belarus processes as much wood as it can. According to Belarusian Forestry Minister Mikhail Amelyanovich, $140 million worth of low-grade wood was sold abroad in 2013. This year, 60 million seedlings worth Br24 billion are to be sold, including decorative trees.

The President deems it necessary to process all the wood inside the country. “If capitalists pay you $150 million for this trash, it means they need it and they make good money on it. Why cannot we do the same?” the head of state asked.

“Let us agree on one thing: you will continue doing what you do this year and the next, however starting from 2016 you will no longer sell timber to other countries. You will stop exporting raw materials starting from 1 January 2016! Only products with a high added value,” Aleksandr Lukashenko emphasized. He noted that exceptions might be, however, they should be agreed with him personally. Nothing can be sold without his permission.

The President inspected a biotechnological lab, a greenhouse for growing seeds, a cone processing facility.