A ceremony took place during the launch of the project.

inevitably increases construction costs, but there is also a positive side, as all products of Belarus origin will be more af- fordable for foreign customers. So far, strikes have hit only state-owned companies, which means that the construction is on relatively safe ground. The general contractor of the BNBC construction project is the Chinese CITIC Construction Co. Ltd. However, the strikes are reportedly beginning to af- fect the agricultural industry, farms, feed mills, and process- ing plants, most of which are state-owned. There are also fears that the political crisis could harm the prospects for trade between Belarus and the European Union. According to Andrey Sizov, director of the Russian analytical agency Sov- Econ, Belarus agriculture seems to be very strong, but to a large extent, this is only possible due to vast amounts of state aid. At some point, the industry may need to go through painful reforms, he added. On the other hand, with the Lukashenko regime still in place, Belarus has to cope with new EU sanctions, the extent of which is still unclear.

Export opportunities The new complex should boost the competitiveness of the Belarus livestock industry. Belarus is currently exporting agri- cultural products worth $ 5 billion per year, $ 2.15 billion of which is accounted for by dairy production, the country’s Agri cultural Ministry estimated. The dairy industry’s produc- tion capacity nearly exceeds domestic demand by three times, with per capita production at 730 kg believed to be one of the highest in the world. It is estimated that Belarus accounts for 4% to 5% of global dairy exports.

Exports should be the primary sales channel for BNBC. In to- tal, BNBC plans to export 80% of the manufactured product,

24 ▶ ALL ABOUT FEED | Volume 28, No. 8, 2020

the company reported. Among other things, BNBC will estab- lish a scientific and research department to look into the ways of cutting costs and making products more attractive price- wise for foreign customers. “We have no information that the Belarussian side has filed for the Russian veterinary watchdog Rosselhoznadzor’s certificate to sell on the Russian market, which is mandatory. It takes six months to get a green light once an application is submitted,” Sergey Mikhnyuk, chair- man of the Russian National Feed Union, said. “They should have get in touch with Rosselhoznadzor, invite the Russian in- spectors to their production facilities, and simultaneously launch an advertising campaign in our market. We haven’t seen this yet,” Mikhnyuk added. “It is also uncertain which products they plan to supply to Russia. No information on that is available right now. The Russian premix market is pretty tight, even oversaturated, so there is no really a room for new market players,” Mikhnyuk said. According to Mikh- nuyk, there is also a price issue, since as of today it is not clear where BNBC plans to source enough grain to meet internal demand. “If they are going to purchase Ukraine grain, it is a big question at what price and how this could be impacted by Belarus’ membership of the Eurasia Economy Union,” he said. “The Russian and Ukraine markets look like the most promising targets for BNBC’s production,” commented a source in the local feed industry who wished not to be named. “Europe and China already have highly competitive suppliers of lysine, threonine, and other amino acids. BNBC could become a major supplier of feed additives to the West, as long as the products are of the highest quality and sold at a very competitive price. Belarus has rather cheap labour and a good raw materials base, but I would not say that it will be easy to be successful in Europe,” the source added.


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