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Belarus potato export skyrockets

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko is harvesting potatoes with his son Nicolai

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko is harvesting potatoes with his son Nicolai on the territory of his official residence Drozdy on August 16, 2015 (Courtesy BelTA)

August 26, 2015
In January-July 2015 Belarus increased potato export by more than 3.1 times, BelTA learned from Belarusian Agriculture and Food Minister Leonid Zayats during the opening of the first specialized exhibition Eurasian Potato on 20 August.

According to the source, in January-July 2015 Belarus exported over 200,000 tonnes of potato. The bulk of the shipments went to Russia.

Leonid Zayats remarked that potato plays a major role in Belarus' food security. Close attention has been paid to the potato-growing industry in Belarus in the last few years. Potato farming has advanced to a new level thanks to the implementation of the government program on potato farming development. “Cutting-edge technologies have replaced outdated ones. State-of-the-art machines can help observe potato farming technologies,” said the Minister. Apart from that, Belarusian scientists have secured a decent seed stock, thanks to which Belarusian farmers manage to secure decent yields.

According to the source, at present 240 agricultural enterprises in Belarus specialize in potato farming and account for 70% of the country's potato output. Facilities to store 240,000 tonnes of potatoes have been built within four years. “All in all, we have the capacity to store the entire amount of potato we grow — 1.3 million tonnes,” noted Leonid Zayats.

Speaking about the future strategy to develop potato farming in Belarus, the official said they are going to focus on increasing the output through better crop yield. “Our agricultural enterprises have a lot of space to grow into. It is necessary to improve seed production standards and agricultural technologies in order to collect 500 centners of potato per hectare instead of 250-300 centners,” said the Belarusian Agriculture and Food Minister.

BelTA reported earlier that the international exhibition Eurasian Potato is supposed to take place at premises of the farming enterprise Sula in Stolbtsy District, Minsk Oblast on 20-21 August. The exhibition has been organized with assistance of the Belarusian Agriculture and Food Ministry, the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, and the Minsk Oblast administration.

The Eurasian Potato exhibition is supposed to demonstrate the latest potato varieties, cutting-edge technologies and R&D products used for potato farming.