MINSK, 19 April (BelTA) – The agricultural sector should embrace the latest in technology, enforce strict discipline and offer new types of products, President Aleksandr Lukashenko said during his Annual State of the Nation Address on 19 April, BelTA has learned.
“The number one task for agriculture is to ensure the absolute supremacy of technology and work discipline. Everyone should get involved, from company chiefs and specialists to our police. The second objective is to start producing new plant and meat products. Each district should develop an area-specific strategy. The climate is changing. So is the strategy. We need to cultivate the crops that can be grown here in order to reduce imports. We need to financially support our own manufacturers no matter how hard it might be for us,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
The head of state emphasized that agriculture should rely on large-scale production. “There is no escaping it. This model has proved efficient,” he said. He noted that state support can be provided not only to big companies, but also farmers. The president recalled that big agricultural enterprises have a huge social responsibility. At the same time, farmers usually want to get only land for use: “They say: give us land; we do not need enterprises… In other words, they do not need agricultural companies, farms, complexes, grain facilities. Most importantly, they do not need villages and people,” the president noted.
“Today big agricultural companies are not only responsible for people living in old villages, but they also help these villages get a new lease on life. We have built agro-towns all over the country – a total of 1,500 – and these large-scale companies helped us with that. They took out loans, including loans to fulfill their social commitments. They built homes, roads, healthcare facilities, retail outlets, clubs, etc and they help maintain them to this very day,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
The president noted that production of premium-quality organic products using green technology is a global agricultural trend today. He informed that a special marketplace will be built near Logoisk Highroad to sell eco-friendly organic products with a view to cultivating a taste for organic foods in people. “We have the law on production and distribution of organic products. The government was tasked to develop efficient mechanisms to implement it, because the global market of organic products is estimated at over $100 billion; their profitability exceeds 15%. This market is on the growth track and we should not miss out on these opportunities,” the head of state emphasized.
Belarus imports too many fruit and vegetables, though it can grow them domestically, Aleksandr Lukashenko believes. “Today we have the capacities to produce two thirds of imported products on our own land. It is time to sort things out with fruit farming companies,” the president noted. He emphasized that new gardens should be planted wherever necessary and new high-yielding varieties of fruit trees and bushes should be used.