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Economy, agriculture and food security
In 2010, Kazakhstan’s gross domestic product (GDP) was US$149 059 million, of which the agriculture sector accounted for 5 percent.
In 2011, the total economically active population was 8.7 million, or 54 percent of the total population. The economically active population in agriculture is an estimated 1.2 million (14 percent of total active population), of which 24 percent female.
Agriculture plays an important role in the development of Kazakhstan, the most important crops are wheat, maize, rice, oats, buckwheat, cotton, potatoes, vegetables, sugar beets, sunflowers. An important factor of subsistence support is self-sufficiency in grain for the production of bread and for livestock forage. The national economy’s priority is grain production, as basic subsistence of the population appears more problematic each year. Increased yields of high quality crops could provide a good basis for economic stabilization (UNDP, 2008).
Kazakhstan is one of the world’s six largest grain exporters, mainly spring wheat, which is exported to 40 countries worldwide. The principle buyers are the Russian Federation, Azerbaijan, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Kazakhstan is gradually increasing wheat exports to the Islamic Republic of Iran, Jordan, Tunisia, Italy, France and Afghanistan. Export volumes total from 2 to 6 million tonnes per year (UNDP, 2008).