Belarus has received an emergency order from Russia for 40,000 tons of potatoes, Alyaksandr Yarakhovich, director general of Bulbaplodaaharodnina, an association of Belarusian potato producers, said in an interview with the government's news agency BelTA.
Member companies of the association have already contracted to export at least 50,000 tons of potatoes and 20,000 tons of other vegetables to Russia in the 2010/11 season, Mr. Yarakhovich said.
The new order was placed with the association and also with the Belarusian Union of Consumers' Cooperative Societies (Belkaapsayuz) because a poor crop in central Russia has driven up demand for potatoes and vegetables, Mr. Yarakhovich said. Russian wholesalers are ready to buy Belarusian potatoes now without waiting, he said.
Before beginning to export, Belarus should harvest enough potatoes to supply the domestic needs and create a stabilization reserve of at least 54,800 tons, Mr. Yarakhovich said. "However, the market dictates all conditions this year," he said. "The potato harvest in Belarus isn't poor. There is certainty that the domestic demand will be met."
An agreement has been reached for potatoes, carrots and onions to be exported to the Russian capital city, Mr. Yarakhovich said. Bulbaplodaaharodnina is to supply 20,000 tons of potatoes and 10,000 tons of vegetables there, he noted.
The association also planes to export potatoes to Moldova and Ukraine, and has already negotiated deals with customers in Kherson and Crimea, Mr. Yarakhovich said.