Expertise for villages

[b]Latest achievements in agriculture were on display at Belagro-2012[/b]International Belagro-2012 Specialised Exhibition, hosted by Minsk in early June, brings together agricultural specialists, scientists and heads of enterprises. This year, 420 companies from 20 countries took part, displaying their latest agro-innovations and advanced technologies, across two big sites: the football stadium in Pobediteley Avenue and a field belonging to Gastellovskoe agricultural enterprise. The forum was attended by delegations from Russia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan and France, alongside thousands of guests, proving again that the agrarian business is a promising sphere.
Latest achievements in agriculture were on display at Belagro-2012
International Belagro-2012 Specialised Exhibition, hosted by Minsk in early June, brings together agricultural specialists, scientists and heads of enterprises. This year, 420 companies from 20 countries took part, displaying their latest agro-innovations and advanced technologies, across two big sites: the football stadium in Pobediteley Avenue and a field belonging to Gastellovskoe agricultural enterprise.
The forum was attended by delegations from Russia, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Kyrgyzstan and France, alongside thousands of guests, proving again that the agrarian business is a promising sphere. Innovation is an ongoing process, with new ideas ever flowing, needing only funding to bring them to mass production, to the benefit of people around the world.
Leonid Marinich, the Acting Agriculture and Food Minister of Belarus, expressed his wish that the next, 23rd, agro-forum will enjoy an even broader format. “We hope that, next year, the Agro-Industrial Week of the Eurasian Economic Community will be organised as part of Belagro.”

Growth and development
Those who have taken part in the agro-fair regularly (domestic and foreign) have noticed how much it has grown in the past two decades. The First Belagro exhibitions in Minsk were far more modest, occupying two small city sites, attended by a few entrants. Most of the advanced technologies came from abroad, and the exposition itself was more like a museum than a venue for signing contracts. In the mid-1990s, agricultural enterprises lacked funds to buy new machinery or the latest technologies.
Now, all has changed, with Belarusian villages developing, agrarian production rising and farming exports on the rise. Smallholders can choose the best technical and technological solutions, as is understood by foreign partners taking part in the event once again: German, Polish, French and Dutch companies. The Belarusian agrarian branch has quite glowing prospects. Alongside trade with neighbouring Russia and Ukraine, it has the real opportunity to enter EU markets, as noted by Mr. Marinich at the opening ceremony. He underlines that Customs Union states have almost ensured total domestic food security.
“Today, we must unite our efforts to create the best export potential, promoting the common brand of Customs Union produce to the world community,” notes Mr. Marinich.
He adds that Belagro demonstrates the technical and technological potential of Belarusian farming and that of its partners, while being a good venue for discussing Belarusian initiatives.

Review of experience and achievements
Gastellovskoe JSC’s demonstrational field was impressive in offering a show of diverse agricultural machinery. As always, around 70 percent of exhibitors were Belarusian, ever more confident in competing against world known brands. Minsk Tractor Works, Bobruiskagromash and Lidagromash saw huge interest from visitors, as did goods produced by the scientific and practical centres of the National Academy, Gomselmash and Belagroservice.
MTZ’s stand presented its MTZ-3222 tractor (which debuted at last year’s Belagro). The unique vehicle can hoe, sow and distribute fertilisers in a single pass (the first domestically produced tractor to do so). Farmers can now purchase domestically-manufactured goods, which are cheaper, saving time, fuel and labour. Of course, the MTZ-3222 isn’t cheap but it soon pays for itself. In total, this year, MTZ presented 22 models, boasting capacity of 9 to 350HP.
Belagroservice Republican Association used almost two and a half hectares to display its equipment. According to Nikolay Labushev, its director, their range covers soil processing, sowing and fodder harvesting, as well as grain storage, milking and refrigerating equipment. They even produce trailers to transport cargo. He tells us, “With each year, our enterprise masters new farming technology, designed to meet demand.”
Stones in the soil are always in abundance in spring, presenting a problem for many farms each year. Everyone takes part in helping remove them! However, Minsk Agroservice JSC has a new solution. Several years ago, the enterprise produced its first stone collector, highly appreciated by labourers. This year, it presented a more productive vehicle, able to collect stones from four hectares within an hour.
Over 70 vehicle and equipment models were demonstrated by the Scientific and Practical Centre for Agricultural Mechanisation, from the National Academy of Sciences. One of the most interesting achievements was its full set of machinery to preserve and process potatoes and onions (keeping steady humidity and temperature in storage, to ensure maximum market pricing). Safe storage of the harvest until spring has always been the main concern of farmers, since autumn harvests can rot in the wrong conditions. Now, this problem has been solved.
Belarus’ Prime Minister, Mikhail Myasnikovich, is delighted by the success of Belagro-2012, praising the achievements of Belarusian agrarians, scientists and industrialists. He stresses the special contribution of the National Academy of Sciences to developing agriculture and notes that Belarus has re-oriented itself towards concrete projects and contemporary technologies, whose quality is appreciated worldwide.

Contacts and contracts
Experts note that interest towards Belarusian agricultural machinery and technologies continues to rise, as proven by the dozens of contracts and protocols of intentions signed at Belagro. The exhibition was attended by around 40 official delegations from Russian regions, as well as those from the CIS and beyond. Joint projects were negotiated, with the accent on mutually beneficial collaboration.
“Such contacts should end in signed contracts and treaty documents,” notes the PM. “Documents have been signed by the Government so each trade fair and exposition should bring definite economic effects.”
It certainly seems to be the case. Each year, our original national developments, machinery, equipment and technologies (inspired by international experience) prove themselves ever more competitive with those from abroad: in quality, taste and, importantly, price. We need to reduce costs to the minimum while launching contemporary technologies in all spheres of agriculture.
“Belarus already boasts good results in agricultural manufacture; I’d say of world level,” stresses Mr. Myasnikovich. “To make the next step, we need to explore high technologies in animal breeding and fodder production, at minimum cost.”
Last year, Belarus exported $4bn of agricultural produce. By 2015, this should reach $7bn. Participation in the Belagro international exhibition should promote sales, via signed contracts and the acquaintance of farms with advanced technologies. Belarusian farms gain expertise from participating in this major farming forum.

By Lilia Khlystun
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