Flax is the staff of life

Flax holding may appear in Belarus next year
By Yury Pinchuk

The Agriculture and Food Ministry may soon set up a holding company, with its proposal being studied by Government. “It should be considered within a month,” notes Belarus’ Deputy Agriculture and Food Minister, Vasily Pavlovsky. “The establishing of the holding company will bring only benefits for agricultural enterprises and linen mills — including that in Orsha.” The factory is destined to become the parent enterprise of the holding.

The Ministry proposes to combine the ten top flax mills within the holding initially, later joined by others — including foreign companies. Mr. Pavlovsky even speaks of the possibility of a Belarusian-Russian flax holding company, noting, “After creating the holding company in Belarus, I think we’ll have to unite our efforts and set up a holding company with the Russian Federation — as part of our Union State programme. We should share common manufacturing and processing facilities. Since we have the Customs Union and the Union State, why can’t we have joint ventures, holding companies and other companies to direct the operation of certain industries?”

He adds that several Belarusian light industry enterprises are in favour of delaying the creation of the holding company, due to the need to retool flax mills. However, the Deputy Agriculture and Food Minister believes that the two projects can be accomplished without interfering with each other.

Mr. Pavlovsky expects the latest engineering tools to soon appear in Belarus, commenting, “Our task is to install new equipment at six flax mills this year, alongside technology for flax growing in agricultural enterprises.” Modernisation is complete at four major flax mills and, within two years, reconstruction of 18 such enterprises should be achieved.

According to Vladimir Konovalov, the Head of the Agency for the Production and Primary Processing of Flax at the Agriculture Ministry of the Russian Federation, the Union State programme for integrated development of flax growing is likely to start functioning within two years. “It’s planned that we prepare the concept of the programme by September-October, allowing us to receive approvals from ministries and departments by the end of 2013. Another year will be needed for its development and the Union State budgetary funds have been already distributed. So, the programme will begin operating in 2015,” notes Mr. Konovalov.

The Union State programme for integrated development of the flax industry in Russia and Belarus will cover the entire chain: from flax cultivation and primary processing to the release of ready-made goods. It will also include details on the level of state influence and support of manufacturers, addressing problems across the industry in a comprehensive manner, helping it become cost-efficient. The Agriculture Ministry of Belarus and the Ministries for Industry and Trade is joined by those of Russia in helping shape the document, alongside other interested departments.
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