Belarus interested in Israeli agricultural experience

Belarus is interested in studying Israeli experience in developing agriculture, Belarusian Minister of Agriculture and Food Semyon Shapiro said at a presentation of the 17th International Agricultural Exhibition that will be held in Tel-Aviv on May 5-7, BelTA informs.

The Minister expressed his confidence that the relations between agricultural producers of the two countries will be strengthened, and that there will be favourable conditions to set up joint ventures in the future. 'Israel has achieved great success in many agricultural areas, including dairy and poultry production and farming. The country employs many advanced technologies that we can borrow,' Semyon Shapiro said.

By 2012 energy-efficient greenhouses with a total area of 19 hectares will have been constructed in the Gomel oblast. Israeli technologies will be employed there. Belarus also wants to invite Israeli investors to take part in this project. Apart from that, a joint pilot project in cattle breeding and crop production based on Israeli technologies may be launched in the Pruzhany region of the Brest oblast. The project includes production of sugar beet, rape for biofuel, construction of cattle breeding complexes.

Israel Centre for International Cooperation has proposed to organize advanced training courses for agricultural specialists in Belarus. The lectures will be held by best professors from Israeli agricultural universities. These courses will be financed by the Israeli side. Belarus is particularly interested in the Israeli expertise in dairy production. At present Israel has the biggest yield of milk per one cow - the average of 12,000 litres a year.

Belarus and Israel signed an intergovernmental cooperation agreement in agriculture and processing industry. In 2008, the bilateral trade hit $68.2 million. Belarus' major exports to Israel are condensed milk, cream and ice cream. In 2007, the Lepel Cannery and the Smorgon Dairy alone shipped 240 tonnes of non-fat milk powder worth $781,000 to Israel. In 2009 the enterprises accountable to the Ministry of Agriculture and Food are to resume supplies of non-fat milk powder and start exporting cheese, butter and canned milk.

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