Posted: 18.11.2021 12:18:00

From our table to yours

Belarus provides itself with food and is actively increasing exports

The food and processing industry is one of the most developed sectors of the economy of our country. Today Belarusians are fully provided with high-quality domestic food products. Only 27 years ago, it was difficult to imagine that Belarus would be able not only to feed itself, but also to increase the export of products dozens of times. Belarusian food enjoys well-deserved recognition and the confidence of consumers, being exported to more than a hundred countries. For several types of dairy products, our country is one of the five leading world exporters. All the achievements of the industry were demonstrated at the international specialised wholesale exhibition-fair Prodexpo, which took place in Minsk.

Cause for pride

This forum is primarily a platform for communication between industry professionals and for making relevant business decisions, high-quality professional networking, demonstrating the capabilities and products of the target business audience and presenting the latest innovations. The largest Belarusian and foreign manufacturers and suppliers of food products and equipment for the food industry were displayed there. It was here that they showed products that will win the hearts of consumers in future. It is symbolic that the pavilion on Pobediteley Avenue, which is better known to Belarusians as ‘chamomile’, was chosen as the venue for the exhibition. Its shape resembles this flower, and the roof petals symbolise the export directions of Belarusian products. Our country obviously has much to be proud of in this area, emphasised Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr Subbotin, “We can completely provide ourselves with food. We try to sell all surplus to our foreign partners as much as possible. Against the backdrop of global turbulence, food is in demand while prices are going up. We are able to take advantage of the situation. 
In 2021, over nine months, $4.7bn of goods were exported. Growth amounted to 112.6 percent compared to last year.”

Aleksandr Subbotin stressed that a positive foreign trade balance is also being formed, which amounted to more than $1.6bn, “These are all subsidies for doctors, salaries for teachers, so we are trying to go in this direction. We have open markets in 116 countries. We are now successfully trading with 104 countries, with African countries also joining. Exports increased by 40 percent even to the EU, no matter how tense communications sometimes appear.”
The Deputy Prime Minister also assured that by the end of the year it is planned to achieve the level of food exports of $6bn.
Currently, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Belarus ranks 23rd in terms of ensuring food security out of 113 countries. The domestic market of our country is fully supplied with food. The quality of products under the ‘Made in Belarus’ brand does not raise any doubts among foreign consumers. Therefore, the geography of supplies is constantly expanding, said the Minister of Agriculture and Food, Ivan Krupko, “Belarus has increased food supplies to China. Growth was 140 percent compared to last year. Moreover, there is an increase in the supply of products to the EU and CIS states. We are seeing an upturn in all markets. Exports to the EAEU countries are also growing. At the same time, the Russian market remains premium.”

There is much to see

As far as the exhibition is concerned, in addition to the demonstration of the manufacturers’ innovations, the organisers have prepared a rich business programme. In particular, the Internal Consumer Market and Food Security business forum was held, bringing together representatives of interested departments, as well as heads of leading enterprises in the food sector. At the Modern Technologies in Retail, conference representatives of Ministry of Antimonopoly Regulation and Trade (MART), associations of retail chains, retail and brand trade and food manufacturers discussed issues of interest. The B2B-TradeDialog also took place — individual negotiations between suppliers and buyers of food products. The event was organised for exhibitors only and by appointment. The conference of Belarusian agribusiness producers BelarusFresh was also held, bringing together representatives of collective and farm enterprises — producers of fruits and vegetables, as well as retail chains and government bodies. Along with the experts’ reports, it was envisaged to hold a ‘question–answer’ section and tastings of Belarusian apples, berries and other fruits and vegetables. An international tasting competition was held among the participants of the exhibition. Competitions for confectioners and chefs were also organised.

An international competition for the best packaging and label was held within the framework of the exhibition for the first time, said Anna Stepanenko, a member of the European Packaging Institute and chair of the organising committee of the SmakArt-2021 competition, “The main goals of the contest are to identify the best packaging samples for bakery, confectionery, flour, cereals and pasta, to help manufacturers in a competitive environment create viable brands and maintain consumer loyalty for the successful sale of their products. Packaging currently has significant marketing potential and, provided it is efficiently developed, becomes an important competitive advantage for the company in the market in the struggle for buyers. Good packaging has been proven to increase sales by up to 35 percent, but this requires good design and competent management.”

By Vladislav Sychevich