Kyrgyzstan

GIEWS Country Brief: Kyrgyzstan 22-October-2021

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FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT

  • Cereal production estimated well below average in 2021 mainly due to unfavourable weather conditions

  • Wheat import requirements in 2021/22 forecast at well above‑average level

  • Prices of wheat flour remained overall stable at previous year’s high levels

Cereal production estimated well below average in 2021 mainly due to unfavourable weather conditions

Harvesting of the 2021 winter cereal crops, mainly wheat and barley, planted in October and November last year, finalized in August. The harvest of the maize crops started in August and will finalize by the end of October, while harvesting of the minor spring wheat crop was recently completed under overall favourable weather conditions.

The Chuy Province is annually responsible for about 60 percent of the barley output, 50 percent of the aggregate wheat output (winter and spring crops), and 30 percent of the maize output. In this region, weather conditions have been unfavourable between April and September 2021, with cumulative rainfall amounts about 70 percent lower than the long‑term average and higher‑than‑average temperatures. According to the World Food Programme (WFP) , shortages of irrigation water were also reported. All these factors reduced soil moisture levels with a negative impact on vegetation conditions and crops yields.

The outputs of wheat (winter and spring crops), and barley are officially estimated at about 364 000 and 260 000 tonnes, respectively, 40 percent below the average levels, despite large plantings. Including a preliminary (unofficial) estimate of a below‑average level of 580 000 tonnes of maize, the total 2021 cereal production is forecast at about 1.3 million tonnes, well below the five‑year average level of 1.8 million tonnes.

Planting of the 2022 winter cereal crops, for harvest from June next year, is ongoing under overall favourable weather conditions.

Wheat import requirements in 2021/22 forecast at above‑average level

In the 2021/22 marketing year (July/June), wheat import requirements are forecast at 820 000 tonnes, well above the average volume as a consequence of the very low output obtained in 2021. Wheat imports account, on average, for 95 percent of the total annual cereal imports and for almost half of the domestic consumption needs of wheat.

Prices of wheat flour remained overall stable at previous year’s high levels

Retail prices of first grade wheat flour have been relatively stable and high in most markets since April 2020, when they surged in response to a spike in consumer demand at the start of the COVID‑19 pandemic, but also supported by the depreciation of the national currency.

In order to ensure the stability of domestic wheat flour prices amid rising quotations in the export market, on 10 August 2021, the government adopted Resolution 119 , providing for the exemption of wheat grain and wheat flour imports from the Value Added Tax (VAT) until 1 August 2022.

Prices of potatoes, another important staple food, increased between September 2020 and June 2021, reaching record high levels as seasonal trends were exacerbated by particularly low domestic availabilities. Prices declined from July to September 2021 with the arrival of the newly harvested tubers to the markets.