Belarus - Government support for agriculture justified in Belarus

The Government support for agriculture is justified and productive in Belarus, Vice Premier Ivan Bambiza told media on 17 September. It is commonly understood that agriculture cannot exist without support in any country, stated Ivan Bambiza. "Every country decides independently whether it is possible to support agriculture or not. Those who want to support agriculture, they do it. Those who don't, starve or import grain," he said.

In Belarus effective investments in agriculture are discussed. "If the Government can support its agriculture, it should be done, otherwise we will feed foreign producers," believes the Vice Premier.

He underlined that the state support for agriculture in Belarus in no way hinders the development of the agrarian industry in Russia. For instance, unlike Russia Belarus lacks "black earth" lands and heavily invests in keeping lands fertile. All in all, there are no insuperable contradictions in the dispute between Belarus and Russia. There are questions that need understandable answers. Farming conditions are different in every country. "It is unproductive to criticize by the amount of money put into supporting the agriculture," believes Ivan Bambiza.

Deputy Agriculture and Food Minister Vasily Pavlovsky said that a joint session of the Belarusian and Russian agriculture and food ministries is supposed to take place in Moscow on 22 September. This topic will be discussed there.

Vice Premier Ivan Bambiza also told media that at present Belarus has sold the entire stock of milk powder and is reducing the sugar stock.

"We will sell grain abroad if it secures profits. We have a potential for it," the Vice Premier said. Yet the world prices for grain are not high enough to export this product, he added.

According to Ivan Bambiza, this year Belarus is set to export up to 100,000 tons of oil rapeseeds. "This year we have given more freedom to the agricultural companies in the export of rapeseed," he said.

Ivan Bambiza said that Belarus has set forth a task to crop 10 million tons of grain. This year the agricultural companies harvested 370,000-380,000 tons less than last year.

Ivan Bambiza has stressed grain is worth its weight in gold, it is a very good item on the market. If we had an opportunity to sell one or two million tons of grain, we would sell it to receive currency proceeds.

The Vice Premier noted that the production of grain in Belarus is not an end in itself. It is one of the regulators to improve the financial state of the agricultural companies. There is a potential to grow more. Good harvests are grown due to the advanced technologies used in Belarus. The country has learnt how to programme the crop capacity. Ivan Bambiza said that the country has been increasing grain production due to the intensification in the plant growing and cattle breeding, with the simultaneous reduction in sowing areas.

"Starting from 2009 we will be almost free from the necessity to import farm machines for the national agricultural industry. We are able to produce the whole lineup of agricultural machines themselves," the Vice Premier said. According to Ivan Bambiza, this year Gomselmash has designed and developed fodder harvesters for the national agricultural industry. Such equipment will come on teh market next year.

Ivan Bambiza stressed that the import substitution programme has already reaped good results in the agricultural engineering. "Both the agricultural and industrial companies make profits. The position we have chosen is the right one: we do not depend on others in engineering," he said.

In his words, the material and technical base of the agricultural companies has considerably strengthened. Hundreds of companies have been upgraded. Over 100 up-to-date grain processing plants are set up annually.

The combine harvester fleet has been improved as well. The agricultural companies received more than 1,500 advanced combine harvesters this year alone. "Due to a large agricultural fleet we are able to perform all spring and autumn field works in time. The country's well-developed agricultural engineering industry secures the production of contemporary high-quality agricultural equipment," Ivan Bambiza said.



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