Posted: 22.08.2023 12:43:00

Topical issues of Vitebsk Region development discussed at meeting with President

Topical issues of the Vitebsk Region development have been discussed at today’s meeting with Aleksandr Lukashenko

Starting the conversation, the Head of State emphasised that grain harvesting and forage conservation are among the most topical tasks these days, “A month ago, we discussed all the acute points and made the necessary decisions regarding the harvesting campaign and its development in specific regions, including the Vitebsk Region, during a videoconference meeting. At the same time, some problems are still in place: more than a third of the fields have not yet been harvested in the Vitebsk Region, grain yields are significantly less than last year, and forage harvesting is also below the 2022 level. I understand that the Governor will say that we all witnessed extremely hot temperatures without rain. True, a half [of all fields] was dried up, but another half had normal crops. It was necessary to compensate for the shortage of harvest in arid areas with a good harvest in the western regions, for example. I would like the Chairman of the Regional Executive Committee to inform on the preliminary results of the harvesting campaign. Not all crops have been harvested by now, and we still need to pick potatoes, corn and many other crops.”

The President also urged those present to assess the work of the agro-industrial complex of the Vitebsk Region as a whole. “If the Vitebsk Region or other areas of our country have insufficient yield of grain ears or rapeseed, then we have excellent corn. I warned the Deputy Prime Minister and the new Minister of Agriculture that the hardest and most important stage is ahead: to get prepared and harvest corn, especially for grain. Corn is wonderful this year – as never before, we have an excellent harvest. I am sure that if we collect everything, we can get another 2m tonnes of corn grain,” he said.

At the same time, the Head of State stressed that the final decision on the harvesting of corn for grain or silage is the competence of the agricultural industry heads and regional authorities. “It is no need to focus exclusively on grain: if good corn ears are formed, then corn silage will also be ok – especially for the Vitebsk Region, and for the others as well,” Aleksandr Lukashenko noted.

The Head of State pointed out that Decree No. 70 was issued more than three years ago. The Vitebsk Region has received significant state support since then: debts have been unwound, obligations have been prolonged for 15 years, and so on. Aleksandr Lukashenko said, “Do you remember our serious conversation? We have considered the results of the work of the Vitebsk agro-industrial complex repeatedly, including during field trips. The Governor assured us that efficiency growth would be ensured. Clearly, there is no way back – neither for the Vitebsk Region, nor Mogilev, nor Gomel, as well as others. Today we see some positive trends: the agriculture of the region as a whole demonstrates positive dynamics, milk production and milk yield per cow are growing.”

However, according to the Head of State, this result is extremely insufficient. “There are enough problems. Livestock is decreasing, there are not enough raw materials, the capacities of meat processing plants are not fully loaded (only by around 30 percent), dairy enterprises’ loading stands at just 70 percent. Differently speaking, there is room for improvement, there are facilities available to process meat and milk raw material,” he said.

The President pointed to a weak discipline of calculations, saying that this is a serious drawback, “This is unacceptable! If the company lacks money to pay to villagers, then take it from the budget, from your own salaries – but you should return money to people for the milk and meat delivered. The saddest point is that citizens do not receive payments, and we receive complaints from people regularly. I would like the Chairman of the Regional Executive Committee to report on where the reserves are. How do we plan to end this year?”