By Vasily Veniaminov
Belarus’ largest farmstead, usually employing around 70 people, has completed its harvesting of autumn berries. During the busiest season, the number of employees rises, with an extra 150 workers hired to pick cranberries. It’s hard work but is well paid. In fact, 90 percent of the process is mechanised, which makes the harvest more efficient. The human element remains vital however.
“Each season is special,” notes Vasily Lyagusky, the Director of Polesskie Zhuraviny JSC. “This year, we needed special technologies to limit damage from the winter thaw. The harvesting season is nearing its end now, and we’re already seeing good results: the bunker weight stands at 330 tonnes of berries. They need to be washed and sorted but the final figure should exceed 300 tonnes (up from just over 200 tonnes last year).”
Large varieties of this healing berry were brought to Belarus from America 25 years ago. Now, local cranberries rival those in the USA and Canada. Almost half the volume is exported to Russia, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland and the UK.
High quality Polesskie Zhuraviny goods are also sold domestically, with sales peaking in November. There were so many wild cranberries in the woods this year that many people have picked their own of course.