FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia

Kazakhstan improves legal framework for organic agriculture

Kazakhstan has a new law on organic agriculture, in line with the country’s recently acquired membership in the World Trade Organization. The law, signed by Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev in late November, outlines the institutional and regulatory framework for organic food production.

Organic production is a development priority for Kazakhstan – part of its “green economy” initiative emphasizing efficient use of water, land and biological diversity.

According to the FAO Statistical Pocketbook 2015, land area in Kazakhstan dedicated to organic production (where “organic” is defined as either certified or in the process of conversion to organic) currently is estimated at zero percent.

Organic farming is not new to Kazakh farmers, who have experience with organic production of grain and oilseeds, but the absence of a legislative and regulatory framework has hampered the development of organic production. It has also blocked farmers’ access to both internal and external markets for organic products.

FAO has been cooperating with Kazakhstan to improve its regulatory, inspection and certification systems for organic produce. FAO technical experts advised national authorities and contributed to the drafting of the new law which is aligned with international standards for organic production.

“We cannot exhaust our natural resources and rely on input heavy systems to increase production,” said Yuriko Shoji, FAO Subregional Coordinator for Central Asia. “As FAO, one of our goals is to create a shift in the subregion towards healthier and more sustainable food systems. With the latest developments, we have clearly seen that Kazakhstan is contributing to this aim with its full potential.”

For organic production, the new law prohibits the use of:

  • synthetic inputs including pesticides, hormones, antibiotics and food additives
  • genetically modified organisms
  • ionizing radiation.

The law promotes:

  • conservation and restoration of soil fertility
  • recycling of wastes
  • minimal use of nonrenewable natural resources
  • crop rotation
  • selection of locally adapted resistant species , plant varieties and animal breeds
  • use of mechanical, biological and physical methods of protecting plants from pests and weeds.

The law also foresees amendments and additions to the legislation governing Kazakhstan’s agro-industrial complex.

Next steps

The new law is only a beginning. To strengthen and upscale organic production in Kazakhstan, specific regulations will need to be drafted. FAO urges creation of a certification system and establishment of a central national authority responsible for development and coordination of the organic production system. The Organization will continue to work with national authorities to improve the country’s capabilities on organic production.

14 December, Astana, Kazakhstan