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15 September 2010

EU to aid private agribusiness in Gomel Oblast

GOMEL, 15 September (BelTA) – The European Union intends to aid the development of initiatives of private agricultural producers in the areas in Gomel Oblast that have been most affected by the Chernobyl catastrophe. The information was released by Head of the OSCE Office in Minsk Benedikt Haller in Gomel. Benedikt Haller is on a tour around Gomel Oblast on 15-16 September. “Apart from plant cultivation and animal breeding technologies we would like to teach a complex approach to business, such terms as supply and demand to local farmers and the residents that have private farm holdings. We would like to teach them how to sell their products,” said Benedikt Haller. A project is in progress in Bragin District to provide support to farmers and private farm holdings. The project is funded by the European Union and the FERT association. In 2008-2009 households that would like to develop their farms to have a steady income were found. The first steps to support them have been made. At present it is necessary to support plant cultivation and animal husbandry initiatives of agricultural producers, to help organize the operation of the funding mechanism through better group cooperation. Raising incomes of 50 rural households, which are involved in plant cultivation and animal husbandry, by at least 25% is the final goal. In particular, in the district ten households plan to start producing a large choice of vegetables (tomatoes, cabbage, carrots, beet, potatoes, and garden radish) on a total area of about five hectares. The households plan to cooperate to raise the effectiveness of their project for the sake of getting tools to manufacture and sell products in markets and shops of Gomel. The quality of products, including radiation content, will be controlled. The households will need help with establishing purchases and sales as well as consultations and training in plant cultivation. It is necessary to organize a fact-finding tour for the sake of studying the best practices of private vegetable production in neighboring countries. In the future such projects may be implemented in other districts of the oblast, said Benedikt Haller. On 15 September the Head of the OSCE Office in Belarus met with Chairperson of the Gomel Oblast Council of Deputies Maria Bondar. The next day Benedikt Haller is expected to visit a farming enterprise and a private farm holding in Bragin District.

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