The President of Belarus held a meeting in Gomel dedicated to the development of the agricultural industry of Gomel Region. Opening the event, Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed that it would not only be about the state of affairs in the Gomel Region — many aspects are relevant for the whole country, “The tasks remain the same, complex. New challenges emerge. I want to warn you right away: this is going to be a serious conversation. Therefore, take it like a man and without any offense… We constantly talk about the importance of food security and the agricultural sector. But we made sure that we were right to focus on food production. This proved true for Belarus and foreign countries. This year, our country has rolled up its sleeves, figuratively speaking, and produced a decent result.”
This year Minsk Region cropped over 2 million tonnes of grain, Grodno Region and Brest Region gathered 1.5 million tonnes each, Vitebsk Region and Mogilev Region crossed a one-million threshold. At the same time, the task for the central region of the country for next year is to crop three million tonnes of grain, said the Head of State.
“What is the contribution of Gomel Region to the country’s harvest? Unfortunately, there is nothing to be proud of. We passed the one-millionth milestone here only including maize. How are things with meat and milk production? The whole country is moving forward, and you are moving back,” the President remarked.
Over the past five years agricultural production in the region went down by more than 13 percent. At the same time the country in general posted a 4 percent growth.
“I know all your excuses —the weather (drought or rains), the low land quality (sand or wind or something else). I would like to say: you are not the only one who blames these circumstances. This is the same everywhere. But there is not the same result everywhere, or rather the absence of a result, as in Gomel Region. I understand, as you do, that there are objective circumstances beyond our control. There are such factors. Do you take into account local peculiarities of soil composition in Gomel Region? Do you know how to adjust to climatic conditions?” the President asked.
Virtually all the inspected farms have violations in livestock breeding. Every fourth farm has had the facts of presenting false information about livestock mortality. One third of the agricultural organisations violates the technology of fodder storage.
“Farms are in a mess, with constant false reporting and theft. Any distortion of statistics leads to a wrong decision. These are disastrous mistakes not only for Gomel Region, but for the entire country. That is why any statistical report is the most important element in the management of the state. I do not understand why you lie at all. Who needs this lie? It is easy to verify.
Believe me, we are living in a crunch time: either we retain our state, or we need to consider other options, but count me out in the latter case. We have been nurturing our state for 30 years because we wanted our children to live freely, independently. If someone understands this freedom and independence as an opportunity to do whatever they want or not to do anything at all — this is not going to happen in any country. Freedom and independence mean having opportunities,” said the President.
Aleksandr Lukashenko warned: the beginning of 2023 is a litmus test for farmers in the Gomel Region.
“The main thing is the following: there will be no more persuasion, no more talks with Gomel residents (just like with Mogilev and Vitebsk residents). You know what to do. Most importantly, you need to move and act. Do not wait for someone to give you money or buy you a new tractor or a truck, in case you do not have an engine yard. We need a plan today. Everything should be spelled out in it in detail, including activities, responsible persons, deadlines and resources. We need a plan for the development of the agro-industrial complex of Gomel Region, similar to those of the other regions,” the Head of State claimed.
The President emphasised that agriculture has unique opportunities today. The demand for products is big, and the prices are high. For Belarus, which had a record harvest this year, the situation is just the right one, “God has spared us, and we have produced an excellent result in the country’s agriculture this year. Before, we didn’t know what to do and where to sell. Today, we do not even need to look for clients. They offer good money for products. Sell, earn and improve the situation in Gomel Region. No one bothers you, and I will only protect you in this. But you have to earn that money first… Today is the moment of truth. Markets are waiting for you. And not only in Russia. China is ready to consume great amounts of products.”
The Head of State noted that, as he was informed, dealers cash in on Belarusian goods: they buy products at Belarusian enterprises for notional two rubles and sell them in Russia for nine rubles. The President demanded the companies to develop their trade networks and to be engaged in sales themselves, but not just sought to quickly push products out of their gates.
“I would like to reiterate: we need order and technological discipline. Each farm manager, each employee must clearly understand their role, place and responsibility. This is the only way we can get results. That is all I wanted to say. I really want you to hear me and understand,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said in conclusion.
Based on materials of sb.by and belta.by Photos by BELTA