Export of potatoes to be banned in Kazakhstan
Photo © Adilbek Tauekelov / Kazpravda.kz
From mid-December, Kazakhstan will impose a ban on the export of potatoes. So far - for three months. The decision was made at the Interdepartmental Commission in order to fully provide the domestic market and prevent an increase in prices for a socially significant product, Kazpravda.kz reports.
According to experts from the Ministry of Agriculture, there are high risks that a significant part of this year's harvest may be exported. In Kazakhstan this year, the sown area of potatoes was increased, but the harvest came out by 100 thousand tons less than last year. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, about 3 900 000 thousand tons of vegetables were harvested from the fields.
Nazgul Khatepova, deputy director of the department for production and processing of crop products, says that these volumes are more than enough for their own consumption. There is also an export potential; it is about 200 thousand tons. However, according to forecasts, demand in neighboring countries will be strong this year. By the end of the year, Uzbekistan has canceled VAT on the import of potatoes. Moreover, this market accounts for up to 90% of the export of Kazakhstani potatoes.
The harvest in Russia is also 8% lower, and this is the second market for domestic producers. They also intend to cover the possible shortage in the neighboring country with imports. In short, there are more than enough risks that sales abroad may increase, to the detriment of food security and domestic prices.
Now a working group from among representatives of government agencies, business structures is figuring out the actual volumes of stored potatoes in order to prevent spoilage - there are such risks. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, the total capacity of vegetable stores is about one million seven hundred thousand tons. When the picture is fully cleared up, the authorities will make a decision: to extend the ban further, or to remove this restriction by the spring.
According to experts, today the wholesale cost of potatoes in the country remains within 150 tenge per kilogram. The chances that prices won't jump by mid-winter are now much higher.
“We hope that the measures will have a favorable effect on the pricing environment, and our prices in the winter, including in the off-season, will be stable. We traditionally import about 45-40 thousand tons of potatoes annually. Most are in the off-season market, from May to June, until our potatoes are ripe. I already think that the competence of the Ministry of Trade is that they will work out the above issue until the off-season period, and we will not have any threats to food security,” said Nazgul Khatepova, deputy director of the department of the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Kazakhstan.