Skip to main content

GIEWS Country Brief: Kazakhstan - Reference Date: 22-May-2020

Countries
Kazakhstan
Sources
FAO
Publication date
Origin
View original

FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  • Favourable production prospects for minor 2020 winter wheat crops

  • Cereal production in 2019 estimated at below‑average level

  • Below‑average exports forecast in 2019/20

  • Export prices of wheat in April reached highest levels since February 2015

Favourable production prospects for minor 2020 winter wheat crops

Harvesting of the minor 2020 winter wheat crops (generally amounting to about 5 percent of the total annual wheat production) is expected to take place between June and September and crop conditions are favourable in southern Almaty, Zhambyl and South Kazakhstan provinces.

Planting of the main 2020 spring cereal crops is ongoing in the northern regions under favourable weather conditions and harvesting is expected to start in mid‑August.

Cereal production in 2019 estimated at below‑average level

Harvesting of the 2019 cereal crops was completed by last October and the aggregate production is estimated at 17.9 million tonnes, 5 percent below the five‑year average. The result is on account of a reduced production of wheat, officially set at 11.5 million tonnes, about 18 percent below the average level, due to warmer and drier‑than‑average weather conditions between June and August 2019, which negatively affected yields in the key wheat‑producing northern province of Kostanay. In addition, the area planted with wheat continued its declining trend, reflecting the Government’s directive aiming at progressively reducing 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. Barley production is estimated at a bumper level of 4.5 million tonnes due to record plantings, officially set at 3 million hectares.

Below‑average exports forecast in 2019/20

Total cereal exports in the 2019/20 marketing year (July/June), are forecast at about 8 million tonnes, 8 percent below the average level and a five‑year low. Exports of wheat are forecast at 6.5 million tonnes, 15 percent below the average volume due to the 2019 reduced domestic output. By contrast, barley exports are forecast well above the average at 1.3 million tonnes, amid bumper production and strong demand from the international markets.

In response to the COVID‑19 pandemic (see box below), on 31 March 2020, the Ministry of Agriculture set the export quotas of wheat grain and wheat flour at 200 000 tonnes and 70 000 tonnes, respectively. These quotas were increased to 250 000 tonnes and 150 000 tonnes, respectively, in May. On 13 May 2020, the Ministry announced the abolition of export quotas starting from June 2020.

Export prices of wheat in April reached highest levels since February 2015

Export prices of milling quality wheat reached, in April 2020, levels about 20 percent above those of twelve months before and the highest since February 2015, due to the reduced domestic wheat output obtained. Prices increased in particular between March and April, in line with trends in the international market due to strong demand from importing countries.

In April 2020, domestic retail prices of wheat grain and wheat flour increased slightly or remained stable over the last two years and were about 20 percent higher than a year earlier due to the below‑average domestic wheat output and amid a weaker local currency.

Retail prices of potatoes, another important staple, have been seasonally increasing since January 2020. In particular, prices increased in March and April due to strong demand by consumers amid the COVID‑19 pandemic, which exacerbated seasonal trends.

In response to the COVID‑19 pandemic (see box below), on 3 April 2020, the Government approved the introduction of price ceilings on nine socially‑significant food products, which, on 6 May, were increased to a total of 19, including wheat flour, bread, rice and sunflower oil. The price ceilings were suspended on 11 May with the end of the State of Emergency.

COVID-19 and measures adopted by the Government

In response to the COVID‑19 epidemic, on 15 March 2020, the Government declared a State of Emergency, restricting entry in and exit from the country, imposing quarantine measures and movement limitations within the country.

The Government also introduced a number of economic measures , including a 10 percent increase in pension and social welfare payments; the allocation of KZT 42 500 (about USD 102) per person per month, to self-employed and newly unemployed people; and a package of urgent anti‑crisis measures to support small and medium‑sized enterprises