In the last five years, the situation in the agro-industrial business has changed dramatically
Rational plans set out
In the last five years, the situation in the agro-industrial business has changed dramatically. Across the industry, agricultural production has risen by almost 10 percent and average annual grain harvests are now almost 25 percent higher. Plans for the future are no less ambitious. The Council of Ministers’ Presidium summarised the 2010-2015 state programme of agro-industrial development, while announcing plans for a similar programme for the next five years.
Cheese production at Turov Dairy Factory is profitable business
Prime Minister Andrei Kobyakov believes that the previous two programmes of rural sustainable development were of great importance in the solution of the food problem, while making it possible to significantly enhance the level of self-sufficiency with major agricultural and food products and even allow for export potential. “The level of major food consumption has risen by 12 percent since 2005 in Belarus and volumes of agricultural production per capita meet the level of developed states — even exceeding some of those in the Eurasian Economic Union,” he states.
According to Mr. Kobyakov, compared to 2010, annual grain production in our country has risen by 24 percent, sugar beet by 18 percent and cattle and poultry by 11 percent. From 2010-2015, 322 new dairy farms were built and 1,022 modernised. In addition, 14 pig breeding stations were constructed and 41 updated. 401 new poultry growing facilities were also launched. Modernisation has yielded results: the production of cheeses in Belarus has risen by 23 percent, of whole milk products by 29 percent, meat and by-food by 9 percent and raw produce by 25 percent. Despite these figures, the agro-industrial industry is not enjoying similar success. Farmers state that there are still problems relating to sales. More volume is sold but market prices have fallen and less money is received as a result. Last year, food exports made $4.4bn (in the unfavourable conditions of the world market): $1.2bn less than in 2014.
Less profit creates fewer opportunities to pay off debts. The Prime Minister promises that the agro-industrial products which meet the state programme criteria will receive state support in the form of privileged loans (for the completion and implementation of efficiency projects). In addition, current measures aimed at decreasing interest rates will be preserved. “The 2016-2020 state programme aims to retain the economically feasible volumes of agricultural production, taking into consideration the needs of the domestic market and export levels,” Mr. Kobyakov added.
By Alexander Benkovsky