One of the largest agricultural enterprises of the Minsk region, OAO “Ozeritski-Agro” is planning to introduce to the tourist market a unique product: a combination of industrial and agricultural tourism. What kind of product it is and whom is it trying to reach?
OAO “Ozeritski-Agro” is considered one of the most technologically advanced agricultural enterprises in Belarus. Its practices are being adopted by farmers from both Belarus and abroad. Delegations from Russia, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, the SAR, Vietnam, China, Cuba, Mozambique, the UK, Austria, Sweden and many other countries have already visited that place. The enterprise’s main specializations are cattle breeding, crop farming and agritourism. The closest prospect is the development of industrial tourism.
Production: milk, lemons and mushrooms
The size of Ozeritski-Agro’s agriculturally used areas is more than 8 000 ha, and the stock of cattle is 7000 heads, including 2 360 cows. The Swedish delegation, which came to find out more about potential of the complex, visited Zadomlia, one of dairy farms with the merry-go-round milking parlor served by 3 people simultaneously. The milking process of 1000 heads lasts for slightly more than 3 hours.
“We were pioneers of adopting new technologies of industrial-scale milk production. We gained experience while working with organizations that specialized in milking parlor service, balanced feeding and veterinary support. Our partners had learned advanced practices abroad: in Germany, the USA and other countries. The trusted in efficiency and self-discipline of our specialists and share their knowledge with us for free. So, that’s how we were learning, mastered our knowledge of local manufacturing conditions. Having gathered a positive experience, today we are ready to share it with interested colleagues” – Nina Zheleznova, a director of OAO “Ozeritski-Agro” said.
It’s notable that nowadays OAO “Ozeritski-Agro” is inside the Belarusian top 20 major milk producers, and the milk production brings to it the largest financial profit (50%). Another 10% are bred heifer selling and beef cattle selling.
At greenhouse combine tomatoes and cucumbers are being grown. New mushroom growing technologies are being implemented. An experimental lemon tree nursery has been established.
“It’s a big facility, there’s not many of such a kind in Sweden. Usually we have about 100 or 200 heads of cattle on a farm, but here’s nearly 7000. It was interesting to speak to true professionals who know how to do business. Belarus impressed me and my colleagues with a scale of manufacturing, organization and order.
I’ve been to Minsk and its outskirts, and I was surprised to find out that it’s a clean and well-kept city, especially in comparison with the outskirts of Malmö where I live. Back in Europe there are a lot of prejudices about post-Soviet countries, including Belarus, but none of them has been confirmed.
We want to come here again and visit some pig farms and pure crop farms” – Thorbjorn Paulsson, director of «AgronorHalm AB», forage handling and agricultural equipment dealing company, said.
Unique product: industrial and agricultural tourism
On the territory of Ozeritski-Agro the health resort “Sosnovaya” is situated. It welcomes more than 7 000 guests a year, half of them are foreigners. It was visited by the famous French actor Gérard Depardieu , who was very impressed by the scale of manufacturing, local scenery and Belarusian hospitality. He left a note in a welcome book: “I am mesmerized with this beauty”
Nina Zheleznova, a member of the Council of the Republic, a deputy chairman at the permanent commission on economy, budget and finances, a director of OAO “Ozeritski-Agro”:
Tourism isn’t our main business, but it should be considered and developed. The fact that our enterprise is located near the capitol, the National airport and the international investment project “The Great Stone” plays in favor of it. The sport complex “Silichi” and Khatyn memorial are nearby, too. Our landscapes are picturesque and may keep up with Switzerland. We have a beautiful Dubrova reservoir 345 ha in area. The coastal area is more than 80 ha. The Dubrava park project was elaborated in 2012 and its construction was financed by OAO Belagroprombank. When banks were banned from financing non-core assets, the construction stopped, but we are searching for investors to fulfill the project
According to her, that Sosnovaya recreation facility is going to be a ground for a unique tourist product combining industrial and agricultural tourism. A visitor will be able to experience the entertaining program, agricultural manufacturing and rural way of life.
“We are aiming not only at foreigners, but also at Belarusians, especially at families with children. Kids from the capitol wonder how cucumbers and tomatoes are growing, it’s interesting for them to plant seeds, to taste the harvest directly from the garden. We should explain that milk comes from a cow, not from a packet, and a cow grows from a little cute calf”, – Nina Zheleznova said.
The tourist product is not ready yet, but first steps have been taken.
Dmitri Morozov, RUTI’s deputy chairman, co-founder of “BelAgroTravel”:
“Many foreign tourists are sincerely interested in the aspects of comtemporary life in Belarus. Visits to museums and standard excursions do not give a feeling of true contact with the country’s real life, but it is possible during visits to active industrial and agricultural factories.
The growing popularity of industrial tourism in Belarus is evident. While visiting such industrial giants as BelAZ and MTZ, tourist from abroad take interest not only in equipment and machines, but in dining at factory refectories and socializing with workers. That’s a possibility to get personal experience of socializing and dipping into the atmosphere.
Belarusian rural life is also interesting for foreigners, but usually rural farmsteads are offered. If we combine agricultural tourism with a visit to an active agricultural enterprise, we will get a unique product, which will allow foreign tourists to see much more aspects of rural life and work: milk manufacturing, silage making, earth cultivation, etc.”