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Country Briefs

  Kazakhstan

Reference Date: 14-September-2017

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. Aggregate 2017 cereal production estimated at above-average level

  2. Wheat exports in 2017/18 expected to decline from previous year

  3. Export prices of wheat remained stable over last three months

Cereal production in 2017 estimated at above-average level

Harvesting of the 2017 cereal crops is expected to finalize by the end of October. Aggregate cereal production is estimated at 19 million tonnes, down 4 percent from the 2016 level, but still well above the five-year average. Wheat output, which accounts for more than 70 percent of the total cereal production, is estimated at 14 million tonnes, 7 percent below the high level of last year. The decline in production is mainly due to the reduction in area planted following the implementation of the Government’s Programme for 2017-2021 which intends to reduce the wheat area planted from 12.4 to 10.1 million hectares in favour of more profitable oil crops. According to the Programme, the Government has stopped issuing subsidized credits for wheat production. Barley and maize production is estimated to be close to the high levels of 2016.

Wheat exports projected to decline in 2017/18

The country remains the main exporter of wheat in the CIS subregion and it plays an important role in ensuring subregional food security. Aggregate cereal exports in the 2017/18 marketing year (July/June) are forecast at about 8.3 million tonnes, down 3 percent from the 2016/17 season. This decline comes from expectations of smaller demand for wheat outside of the CIS Asia subregion and increasing competition with grains from the Russian Federation, which gathered a record crop in 2017. Therefore, wheat exports (including wheat flour in grain equivalent) are expected at 7.3 million tonnes, down by 200 000 tonnes from the high level of previous year.

Export prices of wheat remained stable over last three months

Wheat export quotations remained at the same level in the past several months, mainly reflecting low trade activity ahead of the arrival of the new supplies from the 2017 main harvest, which has recently started and is expected at a good level.

Domestic prices of wheat flour increased slightly over the last three months and were higher than a year earlier following continuous devaluation of the local currency.

Prices of potatoes, another important staple, rose sharply from October 2016 until June 2017, when newly-harvested crops started to arrive on the local markets. In August, prices of potatoes declined by 18 percent, but were still more than 20 percent higher than a year earlier. Prices of potatoes are likely to remain above the previous year’s levels, reflecting unfavourable production prospects in 2017 at subregional level.

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