High time to reach top achievements
On his working trip to the Minsk Region, President Alexander Lukashenko noted that the target of reconstructing or building one dairy in each farm countrywide by the end of 2012 remains unchanged
By Vladimir Kharitonov
This will mean reconstruction of 1,200 dairy farms, bringing them into line with the latest developments and raising efficiency.
Dairy farming is a priority, with herds to be increased to raise milk production. By 2015, there should be 1.6 million dairy cows, leading to a yield of 10 million tonnes of milk. Manufacturers expect the growth in volume and economies of scale (primarily due to raised efficiency) to lead to reduced costs, allowing them to compete abroad against suppliers from Europe and New Zealand.
Already, rising yields are allowing for more exports, with entry into the new markets of China, Japan and Vietnam. Belarus is gradually becoming a rival to New Zealand on definite markets, and is also focusing on selling processed dairy products. Sales to trading companies, without intermediaries, are also being promoted. As Deputy Prime Minister Mikhail Rusy reported to the President, Belarus will achieve $5bn of agricultural exports by the end of 2012.
Tomkovichi dairy complex at Dzerzhinsky agricultural company is the first to have been intensively modernised, raising efficiency in milking and caring for its 1,300 cows. Inspecting the premises, Mr. Lukashenko concluded that it provides a model for other farms. He noted, “I want to see every farm converted into a dairy complex.” Officials believe it’s impossible to achieve this by the end of the year, requesting that just 720-750 farms receive reconstruction, but Mr. Lukashenko is adamant, asserting, “I’ve warned you that it will be extremely difficult so you should seek other solutions.”
The Governor of the Minsk Region, Boris Batura believes that the Minsk Region will fulfil its task, modernising 324 old dairy farms this year — in accordance with the requirements of the President. Gomel and Vitebsk are not on course to meet their target, so the President has instructed the Prime Minister and Mr. Rusy with creating an action plan to allow the task to be met.
According to Mr. Lukashenko, the achievement of the goal is a matter of principle, since our country’s food security is at stake. “I recall, in the mid-1990s, there was nothing on the shelves of shops countrywide; everything was empty. However, we began working on the agro-industry and saw results. Just 8-10 years ago, we took up farming to avoid it disappearing altogether — as would have happened in time. We began creating ‘lighthouses’ within the rural economy,” he notes.
The Head of State also visited the dairy farms of Povelkovo (Dzerzhinsky agricultural company) and Frunze and Plashevo (Zhdanovichi agricultural company) which use various milking technologies. Their different approaches were discussed, debating the advantages and disadvantages of each, and questions were answered, to allow all to learn from their experience.
Summarising the detailed discussion, the President said, “My requirements remain. Talking to managers and professionals from the best farms, I again realise that we are on the right path. We have not made any technical mistakes.”
Mr. Lukashenko mentioned the Head of Zhdanovichi agricultural company, Grigory Chuiko, as a positive example of how to modernise and operate a dairy farm, using automatic machinery where appropriate. “The person places high demands on working conditions and this also makes us create the most modern complexes,” commented the President. He stressed that the main objective of his meeting with leading farm managers had been reached. “We have come to a consensus: everyone knows what to do,” he concluded. He believes that work is too important to be postponed. “The early bird catches the worm, as time waits for no one. Once Russia has joined the WTO, we’ll be competing with the world’s leading companies. To survive the struggle and be competitive, we need good quality milk,” he added.
The President has appointed the Director General of Dzerzhinsky agricultural company, Leonid Zayats, as Minister for Agriculture and Food, as he has proven himself in practice as a strong leader, able to tackle major challenges in a new way.