Kazakh farmers have the choice to either get a good harvest this year or go broke


Price dynamics in Kazakhstan on the EXW basis from December 2019 to February 2020

Type of good



Change, + -

Change, %

wheat 27-30%





wheat 3 grade





wheat 4 grade





wheat 5 grade










flour highest grade





flour 1 grade





flour 2 grade





Kazakhstan agricultural producers are preparing for the upcoming sowing campaign. Among other concerns, such as retaining moisture in the fields, repairing machinery, and fuelling, the farmers are faced with the task of fully filling the barns with seeds for sowing. Harvest in 2019 was not plentiful compared to previous periods. Farmers feel a shortage of grain for its sale, to replenish financial resources, and for the procurement of high-quality seeds.

In the coming year, Kazakhstan needs rich harvest more than ever, so as not to fall further into the grain deficit pit, which, judging by the available grain reserves, is already outlined. Indeed, by the end of the season after the sowing campaign according to estimates, including by foreign experts, Kazakhstan may remain with record low grain reserves.

Kazakhstan has begun preparations for the sowing campaign 2020. One of the most important components of this preparation is seed procurement. In the whole country, things are going well with seed procurement, and the Ministry of Agriculture of Kazakhstan shows impressive figures at 99.7% of the planned indicators. But in the context of individual regions and for certain types of crops, significant failures are observed and in the coming months it will be necessary to get the seed fund. Either it will be necessary to find reserves within the republic, or resort to the import of seeds.

As of January 30, 2,459.2 thousand tonnes of seeds were harvested, which is 99.7% of the planned level. The indicators for grain seeds exceeded this level and amounted to 1 million 936 thousand tonnes or 100.1% of the plan, which cannot be said about oilseeds and other crops. Oil seeds were harvested at 89.1 thousand tonnes or 99%, fodder at 15.2 thousand tonnes or 91.3%, potatoes at 417.6 thousand tonnes or 98.5%.

For various types of crops, shortage of seeds at the end of January was observed in Aktobe region, East Kazakhstan region, Kostanay region, Kyzylorda region, Pavlodar region and West Kazakhstan region. The largest failure in seed procurement was in Aktobe region at 91.1%, including 93.1% for grain crops, 64.7% for fodder seeds and 82.1% for potatoes. In East Kazakhstan, 99.3% is harvested. Here the shortage for oilseeds is at 84.8% and for feed crops at 64.3%.

In Kostanay region, the total deficiency of seeds is at 98%, of which 97.9% for grain crops. In Kyzylorda region, 83.8% of seeds were covered, including 87.7% for oilseeds and 86.7% for fodder crops. Oil seeds in Pavlodar region amount to 88.8%, and fodder seeds in the West Kazakhstan region to 69.6%.

In addition to the planned measure, grain seeds were harvested in Zhambyl region at 115.2% and in Kyzylorda region at 105.2%.

In the January USDA January 10 report for Kazakhstan in the 2019-20 season, the forecast for wheat has not changed. In the December USDA Agricultural Service report for Kazakhstan in the 2019-20 season, the data on wheat production and export remained the same. Wheat production was last reduced from 13 to 11.5 million tonnes. This is the lowest production rate of this grain over 6 years. In the last 2018-19 season, production amounted to 13.947 million tonnes. Wheat export from Kazakhstan was reduced from 6.5 to 5.2 million tonnes of wheat. Last season, wheat exports were at the level of 8.3 million tonnes. In the 2017-18 marketing year, exports amounted to 9 million tonnes. The end stocks of the current season are projected to be extremely low at only 1.44 million tonnes.

From the end of December last year to the first decade of February 2020, prices in Kazakhstan on the basis of EXW increased for most types of wheat, barley and flour. The exception was class 4 and 5 wheat, apparently due to insufficient demand for this crop. Grade 4 wheat remained in place, and grade 5 grain declined.

The highest growth in relative and absolute proportions for barley, high-protein wheat and high-grade flour increased by 1000 tenge per tonne, wheat of the third grade and first grade flour increased by 500 tenge per tonne, and second-grade flour added 300 tenge per tonne.

Throughout 2019, grain stocks in Kazakhstan lagged behind in 2018. By the end of the year, this gap only increased by almost 1 million tonnes. On January 1, 2019 Kazakhstan grain reserves amounted to 14,465,559 tonnes, and a year earlier, on January 1, there were 16,174,007 tonnes of grain in the republic, or 1,708,448 tonnes more.

As of October 1, 2019, grain reserves in relation to 2018 decreased by almost 3 million tonnes, and the difference fell only to December to 2,622,213 tonnes. By the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020 the grain lag amounted to 2,692,203 tonnes. It is possible that the imbalance in grain stock between annual periods was reduced by import of grain from Russia.

By January 1, grain stocks were reduced, but to a lesser extent than in November and almost in the same amount as last year by 1,328,793 tonnes for December 2018 and 1,398,783 tonnes for December 2019. In relative terms, feed grain decreased more rapidly than food grain. In December, the seed fund was replenished and exceeded 1.5 million tonnes.

By the beginning of the 2019-20 season, 3,991,767 tonnes were recorded in Kazakhstan with a decrease of 1,302,697 tonnes or 24.6%. In July, grain stocks in Kazakhstan decreased from 3,991,767 to 3,468,869 tonnes, by 522,898 tonnes or 13.1%. In August, the volume of grain increased from 3,468,869 to 5,106,469.5 tonnes, by 1,637,600.5 tonnes or 47.2%. In September to October 1, the amount of grain increased from 5,106,469 to 12,654,519 tonnes and increased by 7,548,049 tonnes or 2.45 times. During October, grain grew by another 2,946,114 tonnes to 15,600,633 tonnes, or 23.3%. By December 1, statistics took into account 13,172,139 tonnes of grain with a decrease in November by 2,428,494 tonnes or 15.6%. As of January 1, 2020, 11,773,356 tonnes of grain were recorded, volumes decreased in December by 1,398,783 tonnes or 10.6%.

In December, the volume of food grain decreased from 9,446,763 tonnes as of December 1 to 8,375,122 tonnes as of January 1, by 1,071,641 tonnes or by 11.3%. Grain for seeds increased from 1,431,380 to 1,514,796 tonnes, by 83,416 tonnes or 5.8%, the amount of feed grain decreased from 2,293,996 to 1,883,438 tonnes, by 410,558 tonnes or 17.9%.

In December, by the beginning of the new year in Kazakhstan, with the total loss of grain, its reserves were replenished in three regions and in three cities of national subordination. 41,318 tonnes in Shymkent, 23,737 tonnes in Kyzylorda region, 11,378 tonnes in Nur-Sultan, 2,592 tonnes in Turkestan region, 1,142 tonnes in Almaty and 61 tonnes in Atyrau region. In other regions, grain stocks decreased to varying degrees. The highest grain costs are traditionally in the grain belt of Kazakhstan, in Akmola and North Kazakhstan regions. The exception was Kostanay region. From here, extremely few grains have fallen, at less than 100 thousand tonnes. Why consumers of grain exported it so little is definitely not clear. Perhaps because of the poor quality of the grain, or perhaps the grain was imported into the region, and the overall decrease turned out to be insignificant.

Reserves in three regions decreased by more than 100 thousand tonnes. In East Kazakhstan region by 139,887 tonnes from 784,829 to 644,942 tonnes, Karaganda region by 122,813 tonnes from 666,131 to 543,318 tonnes and Almaty region by 110,297 tonnes from 349,826 to 239,529 tonnes.

In total, in three regions of the grain belt, grain stocks decreased by 981,965 tonnes from 9,813,729 to 8,831,764 tonnes or by 9.2%. The share of grain in these areas amounted to 75%. As of January 1, 350,520 tonnes of grain was stored in farms and farms in North Kazakhstan region. There are 548,149 tonnes in Kostanay region and 341,168 tonnes in Akmola region.

By Alimbek Gabitov for Kazakh Zerno.