Belarus will be main potato supplier to Tatarstan, says president of the Russian republic

Belarus will be the main potato supplier to Tatarstan, Rustam Minnikhanov, president of Tatarstan, a republic inside the Russian Federation, told reporters in Minsk on Thursday following his talks with Belarusian Prime Minister Syarhey Sidorski, a meeting with Alyaksandr Lukashenka and a visit to the recently built Minsk Arena sports and entertainment complex, as quoted by BelaPAN.

An agreement has been reached for Belarus to supply 40,000 tons of potatoes at the initial stage, Dr. Minnikhanow said, noting that the deliveries might ultimately reach 100,000 tons.

Mr. Sidorski said that potatoes would be delivered to Tatarstan’s distribution centers in September from Belarus’ Minsk and Vitsyebsk region, and that Belarusian trucks would be used for this purpose.

In addition, according to Mr. Sidorski, Belarus is expected to supply Tatarstan with sugar and cereals.

According to the president of Tatarstan, his republic also needs forage grain and other feedstuffs amid raging wildfires in Russia and plans to buy between 100,000 and 500,000 tons of these products from Belarus.

Mr. Sidorski said that large-scale exhibitions of Belarusian manufacturers were expected to be held for the first time in Tatarstan this fall. “We plan to exhibit not only our agricultural products: potatoes, cabbages, carrots and sugar beets,” he said. “We also hope that visitors will be interested in other goods, in particular light industry products.”

“In these difficult times, we, as good friends, are providing a shoulder of support to minimize the losses that exist now in the Russian Federation as a result of drought,” Mr. Sidorski said.

According to him, Belarus and Tatarstan aim to restore the pre-crisis level of bilateral trade. He noted that there were plans to annually assemble up to 5,000 Belarusian tractors in Tatarstan. In addition, Belarus plans to supply trackless trolleys and streetcars to Kazan before the World Student Games, which the capital city of Tatarstan will host in 2013, and to bid for supplying streetcars to Naberezhniye Chelny, Tatarstan’s second largest city.

Dr. Minnikhanov said that the Minsk Arena complex was the best sports center he had ever seen.