FOOD SECURITY SNAPSHOT
• Favourable weather conditions for 2021 winter crops
• Above-average cereal production obtained in 2020
• Wheat import requirements in 2020/21 forecast near-average level
• Prices of wheat flour remained overall stable in recent months, but higher than year before
Favourable weather conditions for 2021 winter crops
Planting of the 2021 winter crops, mainly wheat, to be harvested from June, finalized last November under overall favourable weather conditions. According to satellite-based imagery, cumulative precipitation amounts have been near average in most crop lands since the beginning of the season, benefitting soil moisture and improving production prospects.
Planting of the 2021 spring crops, to be harvested from August, just began and is expected to end in June.
Above-average cereal production obtained in 2020
Harvesting of the 2020 cereal crops finalized last October and the aggregate cereal production is set at about 1.9 million tonnes, 7 percent above the five-year average. Adequate and well-distributed rains during the season were beneficial for wheat crops’ yields and, despite slightly below-average plantings, the 2020 wheat output is officially estimated at a near-average level of 629 000 tonnes. Maize and barley outputs are estimated at the above-average levels of about 714 100 and 510 200 tonnes, respectively, mainly due to large planted areas.
Wheat import requirements in 2020/21 forecast at near-average level
In the 2020/21 marketing year (July/June), wheat import requirements are forecast at 600 000 tonnes, near the average volume. 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.
On 19 November 2020, in an effort to ensure adequate domestic food availabilities and contain price increases amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government has introduced a new six-month ban on exports of some agricultural products, including wheat grain and flour, valid from 8 January 2021. The first six-month export ban was implemented from 23 March to 22 September 2020 (see FPMA Policy).
Prices of wheat flour remained overall stable in recent months, but higher than year before
Retail prices of first grade wheat flour were relatively stable in most markets between July 2020 and February 2021, reflecting adequate domestic supplies from the near-average 2020 domestic harvest and following the introduction of bans on wheat exports. However, prices remained well above their values a year before, after the sharp increases recorded in March and April 2020, due to an upsurge in consumer demand amid concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic and export limitations in Kazakhstan, the country’s key supplier (see FPMA Policy). The depreciation of the local currency, which lost over 20 percent of its value against the US dollar since February 2020, also supported the significantly higher year-on-year level of prices.
Prices of potatoes, another important food staple, decreased between June and September 2020, with the arrival in the markets of the newly harvested tubers, and started to increase in October, in line with seasonal trends. In February 2021, prices were well above their levels 12 months before due to a reduced harvest.