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Kazakhstan’s State Grain Trader Buys 4.6 Million Tons of Cereals

Friday 20 January 2012

(Bloomberg) – Kazakhstan’s state grain trader bought 4.6 million metric tons of cereals from last year’s harvest for state stockpiles as of Jan. 11.

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Data from the State Statistical Agency indicate that inventories of agricultural machinery have declined significantly over the past 20 years. Furthermore, a high portion of Kazakhstan’s current fleet – including 77% of its tractors and 59% of its grain combines – was over 15 years old at the time of the 2006 agricultural census. The statistics are somewhat misleading, however, because the data certainly include machines that are no longer in use. As is the case in Ukraine and Russia, the overall efficiency of Kazakhstan’s machinery fleet is improving due chiefly to the replacement of aging grain-harvesting combines with new equipment. During field travel in 2009, FAS personnel observed an impressive fleet of both domestic and foreign machinery at nearly every agricultural enterprise that the team visited. In general, enterprise directors expressed satisfaction with the quality and efficiency of domestic tractors but prefer western cultivators, seeders, and combines. The quality gap is especially striking in the case of grain-harvesting combines. For example, farm directors report that one John Deere combine can do the work of four Russian-built units, but the cost is about four times as high.

Total purchases from the harvest will be 5 million tons, at 25,000 tenge (US $168.50) a ton, JSC National Co. Food Contract Corp., the state grain trader, said in a statement on its website. Kazakhstan’s grain harvest was 26.9 million tons last year, Alihan Smailov, the head of the State Statistics Agency, said on Jan. 13.

Kazakhstan is an important producer and exporter of high-quality wheat. Average annual production is about 13 million tons, but output is highly dependent on weather and in recent years has fluctuated between 10 and 17 million tons. Between 2 and 8 million tons is exported annually, mainly to destinations in Europe (including Russia and Ukraine), northern Africa, and Central Asia. Kazakhstan also produces around 2 million tons of barley, and a small amount of oats, corn, and rice, but wheat is by far the country’s most important commodity. The production of oilseeds (sunflowerseed and rapeseed) is increasing but total oilseed output remains well below 1 million tons. The country also grows a small amount of cotton in southern Kazakhstan, with annual lint output at around 100,000 tons.

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Kazakhstan Grain Area, 1961-2009

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