28.05.2012 / 18:38

Cucumber Millionairs

Unemployed residents of a Belarusian village earn millions on cucumbers.

A typical house in Alshany.

A private greenhaouse in Alshany.

Alshany is a paradise of private businesses.

A protestant church in Alshany.

Farmers own trucks.

Wholesale market, Alshany central square.

When Belarusian agricultural sector employees are earning $100 (what is quite a luck), some of the inhabitants of Alshany in South Belarus make dozens of thousands.

They are all engaged in cucumber business. Officially unemployed, they grow cucumbers in their private greenhouses and sell them to Russia. Cucumbers from Alshany are in demand in the neighbouring country as they are 100% organic.

Around 40–50 lorries are heading Moscow every day. Such amounts bring enormous, especially for Belarus, money.

“I make around $10,000 from a greenhouse every season. And I have seven of them, so calculate yourself,” said a local resident.

The cucumber millionaires are protestants and unlike many other dwellers don’t abuse alcohol and welcome large families.

However, a shadow of uncertainty is hovering over them now. During Aliaksandr Lukashenka’s visit to Alshany he ordered to create either a logistics centre or a processing plant to make cucumber business easier for local residents.

This means that the direct trade with Russia will be stopped and farmers will have to sell cucumbers to the state for a song.

Kiryl Khilko