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3 August 2011

Belarusian farmers urged to pick up harvest pace

GORKI, 3 August (BelTA) – Agricultural companies need to pick up the harvest pace, President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko said as he visited the agricultural enterprise Gorki, Gorki District, on 3 August. The harvest campaign is starting to slow down, according to the President. In order to improve the situation and harvest the crops on time it is necessary to increase the harvest pace by 2-2.5% every day. “These days we must step up the pace, otherwise we will lose the harvest. Crops are ripe everywhere” said Alexander Lukashenko and stressed that work should be accelerated without compromising quality. As of to date, the country harvested 45% of the total areas under crops and gathered 3.71 million tonnes of grain, Minister of Agriculture and Food Mikhail Rusy reported to the President. As expected, by the evening of 3 August the harvest will exceed 4 million tonnes. According to the minister, agricultural enterprises are looking to harvest more than 8 million tonnes of grain this year. The yield increases on a day-to-day basis. Today it is 34 centners per hectare, which is higher than last year and the previous day. In general, the yield in all oblasts is higher than last year, but the harvest pace is slower as compared to last year, the minister said. The minister assured that the harvesting of grain crops will be completed by 22 August. All the farms are provided with a sufficient amount of fuel and necessary equipment. Grain elevators operate 24/7. As for today, the government procurement contracts for food grain have been fulfilled by 45%. The minister stressed that wheat is of especially high quality this year. The agricultural sector is also expected to harvest 1 million tonnes of maize and 4.2 million tonnes of sugar beat. There are plans to sow at least 1.5 million hectares of winter crops, and turn 150,000-200,000 hectares of idle land into the farm use. At the same time the President drew attention to a low colza yield. “This should be the last year of such complacency. If we are unable to cultivate colza, then it is better not do this at all. We have 16 centners per hectare while there should be at least 25. This is a sensitive crop. We should determine the areas where it can be sowed. 16 centners per hectare is the yield not good enough for us,” Alexander Lukashenko said.

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