Kazakhstan

GIEWS Country Brief: Kazakhstan - Reference Date: 31-August-2020

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FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  • Slightly below‑average wheat production forecast in 2020

  • Below‑average cereal exports forecast in 2020/21

  • Export prices of wheat in May reached highest levels since January 2015 and declined afterwards

Wheat production forecast slightly below‑average in 2020

Harvesting of the 2020 wheat crop is underway and it is expected to be completed by the end of September. Despite the large plantings, the output is foreseen at 13 million tonnes, 5 percent below the five‑year average, as drier and warmer‑than‑average weather conditions in May and June negatively affected crops in some regions.

By contrast, the 2020 outputs of barley and maize, harvesting of which is ongoing and is expected to finalize in October, are forecast at about 4 million tonnes and 900 000 tonnes, respectively, well above the average levels mainly due to large plantings.

Below‑average cereal exports forecast in 2020/21

Total cereal exports in the 2020/21 marketing year (July/June) are forecast at 8.6 million tonnes, 4 percent below the average volume. Wheat exports are forecast at 7 million tonnes, about 8 percent below the five‑year average volume on account of the reduced output expected in 2020. By contrast, barley exports are projected well above average, at 1.5 million tonnes.

In response to the COVID‑19 pandemic and in order to ensure adequate domestic supplies, 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. In May 2020, the quotas were increased to 250 000 tonnes and 150 000 tonnes, respectively. Quotas where lifted in June 2020.

Export prices of wheat in May reached highest levels since January 2015 and declined afterwards

Export prices of milling quality wheat increased between March and May 2020 in line with the trends in the international market, reaching their highest levels since January 2015 due to the strong demand from importing countries, export restrictions and to the reduced domestic wheat output obtained in 2019. Prices declined in June and July, however, remained well above their year‑earlier levels.

Domestic retail prices of wheat flour followed an increasing trend over the last two years and, in July 2020, were about 20 percent higher than a year earlier mostly due to the below‑average domestic wheat output obtained in 2019.

Retail prices of potatoes, another food staple in the country, seasonally increased between February and June 2020, with strong consumer demand amid concerns over the COVID‑19 pandemic disrupting the supply chains and contributing to push prices at levels 30 percent above those in June a year before. Prices declined in July, with the arrival to the markets of the recently harvested 2020 tubers, but remained higher year on year.

To protect consumers in response to the COVID‑19 pandemic, on 3 April 2020, the Government introduced price ceilings on nine food products considered “socially significant”, 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.