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Agriculture of Belarus: problems and achievements

Last week, the Rosselkhoznadzor sanitary watchdog of Russia introduced restrictions on the import of Belarusian products of several enterprises. For many years, aid to agriculture has been one of the main items of the budget's expenditures. The agro-industrial complex of Belarus has received about $40 billion. Food security problem has long been solved in Belarus. Moreover, each year revenues from food exports increase. It is several billion dollars annually. But the flip side of this process is that agricultural enterprises have got accustomed to sitting on state subsidies. For five years, the number of unprofitable enterprises has grown and now it is almost a quarter of all farms. That's too much, isn't it?

The Gorodok enterprise "Rayagropromsnab" owes a total of BYR75 billion. Once a major strong farm now needs services of the anti-crisis manager.

Leonid Mikhailov, agricultural crisis manager of Gorodok Rayagropromsnab:
There are criteria that assess the solvency of the company. And in the case of Gorodok Rayagropromsnab a decision has been made, a project, an experiment to institute bankruptcy proceedings. The main criteria is accounts payable. In addition to the bank these are different suppliers.

The weakest link of agribusinesses are unprofitable agricultural enterprises. Now there are 365 of them. State support helped farmers to solve the problem of food security, on the one hand. On the other, there have appeared enterprises taking loans with the understanding that they are allowed not to return them.

Mikhail Kovalev, dean of the economic faculty of the Belarusian State University:
State programs of agricultural modernization, modernization of our farms, especially dairy, modernization of meat and dairy plants, meat plants... They all worked. We would not export billions of dollars of our products otherwise. Now we have to wait for yields. The main problem of our agriculture is export and efficiency. All our farms have long been accustomed to the fact that they can take loans without returning. It's time to get used to the fact that you need to pay for everything.

The government thinks that the problem can be solved in the coming years.

Mikhail Rusyi, Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Belarus:
Now we have to work every day, every minute with these companies. If we work as spelled out in the decrees (and we cannot do otherwise), then we will be able to make these enterprises healthier. And give them the opportunity to receive profits.

Belarus has sold more domestic products in the domestic market this year. At the same time, domestic demands are met by only 85%. At the same time the export of Belarusian products is increasing. Every day, $14 million worth of goods are sold abroad.

Mikhail Rusyi, Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Belarus:
Export potential in the current year will increase by 17-18%, compared to last year. I believe that we should sell about $3.5 worth of products in foreign markets (this is according to our estimations). Plus the private sector, so we should reach $5 billion. Here's our food export potential.

Alexander Lukashenko, President of Belarus:
People are interested in the most important thing: they want to see products from our villages at reasonable prices. People have begun to understand well that what is from abroad is something strange. One cannot hold a foreign company accountable. And what is ours... They know perfectly well that the President will find those accountable. The vast majority of people today consume our own products. And this is good. They are satisfied with our products. They ask whether we can provide food security today and tomorrow, especially in winter, in the spring period of time until the next harvest comes. And I would like these issues to be clarified too.

If you want to report to me on the deep reform of agriculture, then it is not necessary. I called to you in order for you to call a big meeting by November at the presidential level. And we will listen there to your proposals. And most importantly we will see whether measures to support agriculture taken by me are effective.

Agriculture of Belarus: problems and achievements