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Belarus expores 12 more countries for agricultural exports

August 16 Belarusian agrarians overcame a milestone of 7.5 million tons of grain harvested in 2015. The harvesting campaign of 2015 is approaching its end. The campaign will end in about a week. Minister of Agriculture and Food Leonid Zayats answered questions of the CTV's program Week.

In what place is Belarus in terms of agricultural production per capita in the CIS?

Leonid Zayats:
At the beginning of the formation of our sovereign state and a new model of managing agriculture of course, we lost some positions in a number of areas. The Soviet Union collapsed and we, as a consequence, lost sources of gas and oil, lost the ability to produce fertilizers, nitrogen, and phosphorus domestically. We lost four million tons of grain, which was delivered to Belarus' mills from other regions to the Republic of Belarus. It all had some impact. Over those years our fixed assets decreased by 1.8 times, and floating assets by 2 times.
To date, among the CIS countries Belarus is a leader in the production of agricultural products per capita. We produced last year over one ton of grain per person. To be more precise, 1.006 tons of grain. 708 kg of milk, 660 kg of potatoes, 113 kg of meat, and 417 eggs. This is the amount that our residents cannot consume. We export these goods too and currency earnings last year amounted to $5.8 billion. But we face the task of bringing these figures to $7 billion.

It is clear that Russia is the primary market for Belarusian agricultural products. But, as I understand it, we add new markets every year. Are there any new countries this year?

Leonid Zayats:
For our export, we opened 12 additional countries. These are entirely new countries. We supply part of our products to Uruguay, Singapore, Algeria, Egypt, America, Pakistan, and Indonesia. This is an opportunity to differentiate markets to some extent. Our goal for the near future is also to reduce production costs thanks to innovations.

What is now happening in pig-breeding complex? We are restoring the livestock? Last year, pork prices jumped by 60%. What could be with prices this year?

Leonid Zayats:
Do not dramatize the situation please. This year, thankfully, it is all calm. But we decided not to maintain old complexes, which is economically justified. We are already building new complexes. And as of January-July 2015, livestock grew by 140,000 as compared to the same period in 2014. And we received additional 14 thousand tons of meat. Therefore, we will satisfy domestic demand by 100%.

Minister of Agriculture and Food Leonid Zayats