Posted: 08.08.2023 13:57:00

Lukashenko appointed new Agriculture and Food Minister

The President of Belarus, Aleksandr Lukashenko, has appointed the Agriculture and Food Minister: Sergei Bartosh. Until now, he worked as the President’s Aide, Inspector for the Gomel Region. The appointment was held in the format of a mini-meeting, which was also attended by the First Deputy Head of the President Administration, Maksim Ryzhenkov, and Deputy Prime Minister Leonid Zayats. Substantive tasks for the agro-industrial complex development were set as part of the meeting. 

At the beginning of the conversation, the Head of State addressed Mr. Bartosh, “I have invited the officials of such a high level, since I want you, Sergei Ivanovich, to act as Agriculture Minister from today.”

The Head of State explained his choice, “Out of several candidates that were proposed to me for consideration a week ago, I have chosen you, since your life path is impressive. It is very important for a minister to earlier head an agricultural enterprise. As in industry, if we take the Minister or Deputy Prime Minister, they need to go through this path of the head of a certain industrial organisation. It is exactly the same here.”

The President emphasised that Mr. Bartosh has such experience. “You worked at a district level, and this means that – at the level of an agricultural enterprise (you worked as an agronomist, and so on) and at the district level – you know all the processes well. Moreover, you have also worked at the regional level, overseeing agricultural issues. You were also the President’s Aide at the highest level, and that experience gave you the opportunity to look from above at the problems that are being solved in rural areas today, and that you know well first-hand. Your age and experience make you just the right person for this position. This has determined my choice in connection with the appointment of you as the Minister,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

The Head of State noted that, before his invitation to the Palace of Independence, Mr. Bartosh had already been informed about the consideration of his candidacy for the post of the Minister, “You – being a patriotic person – perceive the President's decision correctly, for which I am grateful to you.”

As for the immediate current and strategic tasks in the new position, Aleksandr Lukashenko drew attention to the obvious features of the present moment, “It is now the high season for harvesting, and it is good. You probably remember from your own experience, and I also remember that it becomes easier after a half of all crops is already harvested. This is because we usually clean the most problematic areas, and this is very important for the current weather conditions. Those who have already harvested the problematic fields, especially in the west (there was much laid grain there, and I saw it), will not sleep peacefully today, but they will be more or less calm. However, harvesting is getting more complicated if some areas have been missed after such heavy rains.” 

The President stressed that it is now important to establish the whole range of field work, “I warned everyone – you probably follow and agree with me – that all the works will be compressed. We need to clean up everything. Summer has also been not perfect for us: we had 45 days without rain, especially in the centre and in the east [of the country], crops withered, and they are now rapidly growing. So, [the focus is on] harvesting of cereals, legumes, herbaceous forages, cleaning after harvesting grain, straw, and peeling. Sowing winter crops is the most important task.” 

Aleksandr Lukashenko focused separately on winter crops, “We have begun sowing rapeseed everywhere, and winter barley is on the way. Therefore, it is necessary to quickly clean the fields for sowing winter crops. Everything is compressed, and I warned you about this during our [recent] videoconference meeting.” 

The Head of State once again mentioned his words: ‘it always happens in this way in Belarus: it is either drying, or flooding’. Therefore, it was necessary to get prepared for unforeseen weather conditions – such as drought and prolonged rains. “You see this, you know these problems, and we will have to ensure food security in these conditions. I see that we will be provided with everything we need. We will stock up a little less than a million tonnes of grain ears for the state and the required volume of rapeseed (we already see this). Everything is developing well here,” Aleksandr Lukashenko noted. 

At the same time, the Belarusian leader is convinced, “If we organise ourselves properly, we will not have any problems related to feed grain for livestock. However, it is now necessary to band together for this.” 

Aleksandr Lukashenko also noted that the new Minister knows the Gomel Region well, and this is important. “We definitely need to take the Gomel Region out of the swamp in which it has found itself. You see it better than me. We also have some problems in the Mogilev and Vitebsk regions. The Minsk Region is also a large territory. Therefore, the most serious attention should be paid to sowing winter crops now,” he addressed those present. 

According to the Head of State, this task is especially relevant for the country’s northern regions. “It is very important to sow early crops: rapeseed and barley – so that to start harvesting earlier next year. This is because when harvesting ends in the Brest Region, in the south of Belarus, the campaign is just beginning in the Vitebsk Region due to weather conditions. Therefore, the only way out is to sow crops that need to be harvested earlier,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed.