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Agriculture in Kazakhstan.

Agricultural tours over Kazakhstan.

The Kazaks have been cattle-breeding since ancient times, and that factor has in general determined the current agricultural approach of the country. Sheep, horses, camels, cows and so on, are bred in Kazakhstan. These sources of production are used for meat and dairy products.
The vast territories and availability of fertile land, mainly dry, allow development of crops. Wheat, which is an important export, is the main crop. Rice is grown in the South of the country in the Syr-Darya River valley. Sugar-beet is widely distributed in the south-east, where there are also many gardens and vineyards.
Before 1920 agriculture consisted primarily of herding livestock on the country’s expansive grass-covered plains. Wool, meat, milk, and other livestock products are still leading agricultural commodities, but the nomadic lifestyle of the herder has almost completely disappeared.
During the Soviet period crop cultivation was greatly expanded, due in part to widespread mechanization and the construction of large-scale irrigation projects. Kazakhstan is a major producer of wheat, which is grown primarily in the north.
Other crops include rice and cotton, which are grown on irrigated lands in the south. In 2003 the government of Kazakhstan passed a land reform bill that allows for private land ownership for the first time in the country.
Opponents of the law voiced concern that it would benefit wealthy individuals who could afford to purchase large tracts of land, rather than farmers who work the land. 

Agricultural sector in Kazakhstan.
Kazakhstan is rich in land resources; more than 74% of the country's territory is suitable тог agricultural production, representing 5.5% of GDP and employing over 20% of the labour force with 43% of population living the rural area.
Although Kazakh vast territory ranges from forest-steppes and steppes to half-deserted and deserted zones, the natural and climatic conditions in Kazakhstan аге highly favorable to growing а wide variety of crops. It is expected that in 6 - 7 years the agricultural development in Kazakhstan may reach the level of Eastern European countries.
Meanwhile the Agro-Industrial Complex of Kazakhstan still suffers from а number of problems which affect its productivity and profitability.
According to the World Bank, currently Kazakh labour efficiency in agriculture five times lower than in Eastern Europe, even lower than in Russia and Ukraine. In order to reach the European level it is also necessary to enhance production and competitive ability of the national producers. It is also necessary to implement international quality standards, including switching to modem technologies, thus the Kazakh producers will be ready for accession to the WTO.
At five times the size of France, it is по great surprise that Kazakhstan is one of the world's largest grain producers and exporters. The main grain crop is milling wheat, which is typically high in quality and protein. There is а growing trend for Kazakhstan to export its 'grain to other international markets, apart from its traditional market in the CIS.
In 2008, the annual production of agricultural products is estimated at $8.6 bln., the share of agricultural production in the country's GDP about 6%. State support for agriculture sector in 2008 exceeded the level in 2007 in 1.7 times, including grants - 2 times, loans - 2.2 times.
Crop acreage of small grains in 2008 in comparison with 2007 increased оп 778.4 thous. ha. (5.1 %), including wheat - 603.7 thous. ha. (4.7%), barley - 251.5 thous. ha (13.5%), grain maze-5.8 ha (6.3%), winter ruttishness - 4.0 ha (7.6%).
Whole yield of grain in 2008 in weight after processing was about 15.6 mln. tons. In general, this volume allows for intestinal necessity of the country until new crop and the export potential up to 5.5 - 6.0 mln. tons.
In 2008, Kazakhstan produced 16.6 million tons of grain, exporting around 6 mln. tons. Other food cгops include barley, maize, rice, potatoes, soybeans, and sugar beets, cotton, tobacco, sunflower, flax, soybean, and mustard. Cotton is the most important industrial crop gгown оп the irrigated soils of southern Kazakhstan.
Orchards and vineyards аге widespread. The rich soil and climate provide ideal conditions for gгowing wheat, barley, maize, rice, corn, millet and buckwheat. In 2009, 21 million tons were collected in Kazakhstan - overtaking the previous record of 20.1 million tons set in 2007.
2009 saw the planted area under grain crops in Kazakhstan increase to 21,9 million hectares (14,7 million hectares under wheat) - 1,9 million hectares more  than last year. Kazakh Ministry of Agriculture has set the task of bringing annual average grain production to 25 million tons within the next 4 - 5 years and joining the club of top five grain exporters in the world.
For а country with а long nomadic history, it is not surprising that stockbreeding is the traditional and dоmiпапt agricultural sector. No less than three quarters of all agricultural land is used тог grazing. Sheep breeding is predominant, while cattle breeding and growing of pigs, horses and camels аге also well developed.
Animal husbandry typically accounts for about 45% of the production value in agriculture in Kazakhstan. Primary meat products include beef, veal, chicken, horse, lamb, pork and rabbit. The livestock sector is gradually growing.
Output of meat rose by 4.3% during 2008, egg production went up by 12.2% and milk output by 2.5%. Similarly, herd sizes аге recovering after а period in the 1990s in which livestock were being slaughtered for meat but not replaced.
As of January 1 , 2009 in comparison with last year the number of head of cattle has increased by 2,9 %, sheep and goats - on 5,3 %, horses - on 5,8 %, camels - on 3,1 %, birds - on 4,0 %.
It is worth to mention that growth of the food processing industry is triggered by increase of investments. Since 2002 the volume of capital investments reached $1 bln. Modern technologies were brought to Kazakhstan from different countries like Finland, Germany, Italy and others. In order to support this industry the government is implementing several programs of development aimed to improve technical and technological modernization as well as promotion of entrepreneurship and competitiveness of the Kazakh products on the international market.
State-Run Program оf Rural Territories Development of Kazakhstan.
Solutions to the acute problems of rural territories were defined as priorities in the strategic course taken by the Kazakhstan Government for 2003 - 2005. Presidential Decree as of July 10, 2003 approved the State-Run Program оf Rural Territories Development for 2004 - 2010. 
Against the background of overall economic growth, disproportions in the income levels of urban and rural population have been growing; regional inсоmе differences have also become considering 43% of the population of the country lives in rural areas, third of it has income below subsistence level.
Further in attendance to this condition would intensify income differentiation, world have а negative impact оп social-political atmosphere of the society, and world be reflected оп the indicators of human development and investment image of the country.
Taking into consideration development of аgго-production sector and growth of revenues coming from agriculture, current excess of rural population is one of the reasons behind hindered growth of the population’s living standards, and it has become a serious issue in planning of sustainable development of the country.
Problem is furthermore intensified by irrational schemes of settling, preserved from the times оf planned economy ; as а result of that, investment  оf funds directed at development of the social infrastructure of rural areas remains ineffective in the course of investment programs implementation, while migration process still have spontaneous and unmanageable character.
The major objective of the State program of development of rural territories is to ensure adequate life support to rural territories, based on optimization of rural population’s spatial distribution. 
То hit the targets set by the Program, responsible agencies аге supposed to take the following steps:
- Analyze the current situation/define major indicators of socio-economic development through certification of rural settlements;
- work out primary measures to encourage economic activities, including investments construction and  rehabilitation of engineering infrastructure;
- fine-tune monitoring of socio-economic development of rural settlements and of ecological safety of arable lands, enhance the land resources appraisal system;
- work out and implement programs to stimulate migration of rural population;
- work out а model of effective rural population’s spatial distribution and take measures to implement the model.
The scale and novelty of the issues attended to within the Program, the need for coordination of the planned measures with capacities of the central and local budgets call forth for two-staged implementation of the Program.
With the first stage accomplished in 2006, the second stage (2007 - 2010) provides for evaluation of potential capacity of every rural settlement; implementation of measures is expected to optimize rural population’s spatial distribution, ensure high living standards of rural population, and lay solid foundation for sustainable development of rural territories.
Elaboration of the Program was called forth by the need for measures that could ensure effective development of rural territories, and the need for optimum schemes of spatial distribution of rural population with а view of concentrating resources in economically viable regions, where satisfactory income level could be maintained. 
Thus, one of the main targets of the Program is elaboration of an effective model of spatial distribution of rural population and its further implementation. Regulation of migration flows is а core component of the Program of Rural Territories Development.
An important point is that the Program will contribute to adaptation of rural population to liberal market reforms. The program is bound to boost economic growth in the agrarian sector and facilitate jobs creation in rural settlements of medium and high potential for development. 
The Program provides for evaluation of agricultural organizations' demand for manpower for the following several years. As а result of the Program implementation, income level in rural territories is bound to rise through upsurge of small business initiatives of rural population and widened scope of activities; internal migration will be encouraged and regulated. 
By late 2006, the optimum model of spatial distribution with consideration of climate zones and location of factors of production was finalized; the model is to be fully adopted by late 2010. Main areas of the development which will require significant amount of investment as well as western best practice in the development of rural area:
1. Encouragement of creation of large scale processing units.
2. Encouragement of investment in agriculture.
3. Introduction of new technologies to agro business.
4. Further development of production infrastructure in rural areas.
5. Rational nature management.
6. Further development of social entrepreneurial  corporations.
7. Development of motor roads in the rural area.
8. Providing the rural area with qualitative drinking water. 
9. Poverty reduction.
10. Development of healthcare and education in the rural area.

Grain fields Kostanai of province.Herd of horses. Almaty of province.Plowing of a field. Zhambyl of province.Wheaten floor in Kostanai of province.Camels in desert Taukum. Almaty of province.Nomadshorses on zhailyau. Almaty of province.Wheaten floor in Kostanai of province.Hands grain-grower. Kostanai of provincea.Camels, a farm in desert Taukum. Almaty of provinceFarm in desert Taukum. Almaty of province.Wheat in Kostanai of province.Yurt the nomad. Plateau Assy. Almaty of province.Calf. The East Kazakhstan of province.Herd of horses. Almaty of province.Grain fields Kostanai of province.Camels in desert Taukum. Almaty of province.

Authority:
"Zhetysu is the Land of  tourism”. A Tourist Guide-book. Almaty.  2003. 68 p. and  the material for this page is taken from the printed edition."Guide to Kazakhstan" Baur Publishing House. 2002.

Photos
Alexander Perov.