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Country Briefs

  Kazakhstan

Reference Date: 03-April-2019

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  1. Growth of 2019 winter crops about to resume

  2. Cereal production in 2018 estimated above average level

  3. Above-average exports expected in 2018/19

  4. In February, export prices of wheat at highest levels since August 2015

Growth of 2019 winter crops about to resume

Winter wheat crops (the output of which generally amounts to about 6 percent of the total wheat production) were planted by the end of November 2018 and will be harvested between June and September 2019. Overall conditions of crops are reported to be satisfactory. In southern and southeastern key wheat-growing provinces, land preparation and planting operations were delayed by above normal precipitations, low temperatures and frosts. However, from early December onwards, regular and well-distributed snowfall ensured sufficient soil moisture and prevented crops from freezing. As of mid-March, snow was still covering most crop lands in Almaty Province, while it had almost entirely melted in Jambyl and Turkestan provinces, where crops are about to resume growth.

The area planted with 2019 winter wheat is estimated to be below the average level, reflecting the Government directive to progressively reduce all wheat (spring and winter) planted area from 12.4 million hectares in 2016 to 10.1 million hectares in 2021 in favour of more profitable oil crops.

Sowing of spring crops, to be harvested between mid-August and October 2019, is expected to start in May.

Cereal production in 2018 estimated above average level

Harvesting of 2018 cereals finalized by the end of October 2018 and total cereal production is estimated at 19.8 million tonnes, almost unchanged from 2017’s above average level. Wheat output, which accounts for 70 percent of the total cereal production, is officially estimated at about 14 million tonnes, close to the five-year average, as high yields, resulting from abundant rainfall in the northern regions (where 85 percent of the wheat is grown), offset the contraction in the planted area. However, in the same regions, excessive soil moisture negatively affected the quality of grains. Barley output is officially estimated at a record level of almost 4 million tonnes, 20 percent above 2017’s level and almost 30 percent above the average, on account of larger planted area and favourable weather conditions, which boosted yields.

Above-average exports expected in 2018/19

In the 2018/19 marketing year (July/June), aggregate cereal exports are forecast at 9.7 million tonnes, slightly below the previous year’s level, but still well above the five-year average. Exports of wheat, half of which are generally shipped to Afghanistan and Uzbekistan, are forecast at an above-average level of 8 million tonnes. Barley exports are foreseen to reach an all-time high of 1.5 million tonnes, almost 50 percent above the average level, amid bumper production and strong demand from international markets.

In February, export prices of wheat at highest levels since August 2015

Export prices of milling quality wheat increased over the last five months and, in February 2019, reached the highest level since August 2015. The increase is mainly due to strong foreign demand and reduced availabilities of high quality wheat due to adverse weather conditions in key producing northern regions. Domestic retail prices of wheat grain and wheat flour increased slowly since September 2018 and, in February 2019, were about 10 percent year-on-year higher, in line with export price trends and with the country’s weaker currency contributing to the upward pressure.

Prices of potatoes, another important staple, have been overall stable in the last months and, in February 2019, were at levels significantly lower than a year earlier.

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