Opening Asia for Russia

18.10.2020 56 просмотров

Interview with Kairat Nazhmidenov, FAO Representative in Kazakhstan.

Today is World Food Day and the 75th anniversary of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Can you tell why the Organization was created and what it is currently focusing its activities on in the world and in Kazakhstan?


< p> World Food Day is celebrated all over the world and the day of the creation of FAO - 16 October was chosen as its date. Back in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, global agriculture faced many challenges, and during World War II, famine became a reality for hundreds of thousands and threatened millions. This was the main reason for the creation of our organization. On October 16, 1945, in Quebec (Canada), the governments of 34 countries signed the FAO Charter, that is, in fact, our organization was established before the UN. Since its inception, FAO has been accumulating the best practices in global agriculture and helping to build the capacity of its member countries to increase food and agricultural production.


Today, FAO continues to fulfill its main task of ridding the world of hunger. Today, with 194 member countries, FAO works in more than 130 countries around the world to help countries address the most pressing issues of developing agriculture, agri-food systems and creating value chains to feed growing populations. At the same time, the focus of our programs is also focused on achieving gender equality, promoting youth and supporting family farming, which is especially relevant in connection with the UN Decade of Family Farming in 2019-2028. The knowledge and experience accumulated by the Organization over 75 years of activity make it possible to solve the most difficult tasks of agriculture, forestry and fisheries and, at the request of national governments, respond promptly to emerging challenges.


Kazakhstan's partnership with FAO has been developing since joining the organization in 1997. FAO helps the Government of Kazakhstan to use the principles and approaches of sustainable agriculture and food production, which are reflected in the UN Sustainable Development Goals. In practice, this means the introduction and use of such agricultural technologies, in which expanded reproduction in the agricultural sector does not violate the environmental sustainability of natural resources in the context of global climate change. Recently, with the assistance of FAO, the organic agriculture sector has been dynamically developing in Kazakhstan and new opportunities are opening up for the production and export of legumes and oilseeds, which have very good prospects and development potential in the country.


The Partnership Program with the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan determines the basis and main directions of FAO's activities in Kazakhstan. What does this program include?


< p> The FAO-Kazakhstan Partnership Program is an integral part of the Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan and FAO, which was ratified in July 2018. It became a turning point in the development of our strategic partnership, giving impetus to the development of a whole portfolio of projects designed to harmoniously develop the agro-industrial complex of Kazakhstan, taking into account the best international experience available in the Organization. The implementation of the Partnership Program will be carried out in accordance with the priorities defined in the Agreement, the State Program for the Development of the Agro-Industrial Complex of the Republic of Kazakhstan for 2017-2021, as well as in the new National Project for the Development of the Agro-Industrial Complex for 2022-2026, in the development of which FAO is actively involved. The projects of the FAO-Kazakhstan Partnership Program include the introduction of modern seed-growing technologies and new water-saving irrigation technologies, the development and testing of models for a balanced and harmonious development of animal husbandry, the development of production and the expansion of export markets for organic products, and a number of other areas of development relevant to the country. We hope that the Government of Kazakhstan will start financing the Partnership Program, which will make it possible to more effectively implement the best world practices and approaches in the development of the agro-industrial complex of Kazakhstan.


In general, the portfolio of FAO technical assistance projects in Kazakhstan for the period 2010-2025, excluding planned projects under the Partnership Program, has 39 projects totaling US$ 35.8 million, of which 11 have already been successfully completed, 8 are ongoing and 20 are in preparation. All projects implemented by FAO in Kazakhstan are directed jointly with national partners in the country, mainly the Ministry of Agriculture of Kazakhstan, and are also linked to the FAO Country Program Framework in Kazakhstan, which is currently being updated in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework. development in Kazakhstan for 2021-2025.


Today, FAO projects are being implemented in Kazakhstan on the integrated management of land and pasture resources, the introduction of drought-resistant and salt-tolerant crops; the formation and development of value-added agricultural production in rural areas with the involvement of personal subsidiary and family farms; to combat antimicrobial resistance caused by the overuse of antibiotics in animal production; on combating pests of agricultural crops, including locusts, and on strengthening phytosanitary control, as well as on the development of digitalization in agriculture, reducing food waste and food losses, and other most relevant areas for the development of the country's agro-industrial complex.


The FAO Office in Kazakhstan also launched a project to support the Ministry of Agriculture of Kazakhstan in the preparation of a new National Project for the Development of the Agro-Industrial Complex for 2022-2026, a project to develop agri-food trade and create an international food hub in Kazakhstan (together with the Ministry of trade and integration of Kazakhstan), as well as projects to develop agricultural markets and exports of agri-food products and the development of land relations and family farming.

How will the COVID-19 pandemic affect the transformation of the global food market in the near future and how this process will affect Agroindustrial complex of Kazakhstan?


< p> Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the value of the FAO Composite Food Price Index, after a short decline in early 2020, shows a steady increase in the second half of the year. This FAO index reflects the monthly change in international food prices. The reason for the growth was the increase in prices for vegetable oils and cereals. While prices for dairy products have remained virtually unchanged, while prices for sugar and meat have even declined slightly recently.


The pandemic, and with it the quarantine measures that some countries introduced due to COVID-19, negatively affected international and national trade in the countries of the region, and led to disruption of production and marketing chains. At the same time, the shortage of a number of products in importing countries led to an increase in prices, which affected the purchasing power of consumers. These negative impacts were especially acute in the first months of the introduction of quarantine measures, when market participants did not yet have an understanding of how to work in the new conditions. At the same time, for example, fruit and vegetable markets in Kazakhstan are signaling higher-than-expected demand for crop products. And the increase in demand, in turn, leads to an increase in the price of fruits and vegetables.


However, despite the uncertainty that arose in the agri-food markets at the initial stage of the spread of COVID-19, now the governments of many states have gained experience in the global crisis, have become more informed and prepared for market changes. Global trends, although not fully, nevertheless affected Kazakhstan, taking into account the country's role and place in the agri-food markets both in the region and beyond.


In recent years, the agro-industrial complex of Kazakhstan has had a significant impact on the food supply of the Central Asian region, especially grain and flour. Prices here are set according to the needs of food buyers, as well as the situation in the market of neighboring China, which in recent years has predominantly grown, becoming even more competitive in food exports and at the same time creating more opportunities for Kazakhstan to export food to China.


If we take the main commodity items - wheat, barley, flour, flax, rapeseed, sunflower, then in 2020 there is an increase in prices for all these items. For some goods, prices are not dictated by buyers, but by producers who would like to receive prices from last season and higher. Kazakh barley has low demand in the region. Iran is its main importer. However, due to instability and some risks associated with payments for barley exports to Iran, it is currently difficult to predict price dynamics in this direction.


As for vegetables and fruits, especially imported ones, they are expected to continue to rise in prices within the country due to the restrictions imposed due to the pandemic and the depreciation of the tenge against the dollar. For durum wheat, as well as for some oilseeds and legumes, Kazakhstan can compete in the markets of Europe and the Black Sea region. In recent years, grain exports to China have been growing.


The demand for Kazakh grain and flour in the Central Asian region and in Afghanistan remains stable, which serves as a long-term engine for the development of grain production and trade. This is due to the geographical location of Central Asia, and its remoteness from sea trade routes, due to which Kazakhstan receives competitive advantages as the main supplier of grain and flour to the countries of Central Asia and Afghanistan. This allowed the formation of a local grain market, the price situation of which is not strongly dependent on the world grain market. The year 2020 is indicative of this statement, when export restrictions imposed by Kazakhstan on the 2019 wheat crop led to a significant increase in prices in Central Asia, while export restrictions imposed in Russia and Ukraine did not affect the price volatility of the world grain market.


Kazakhstan harvested a good harvest in 2020, better than last year. But the prices for grain of a new crop exceed last year's indicators. This applies to milling wheat, durum wheat, rapeseed, sunflower, oil flax, legumes and other crops. The growth in the cost of raw materials, such as grain, leads to an increase in manufactured products along the entire value chain. There is an upward trend in prices for flour, feed, dairy and meat products, poultry products, vegetable oils, fats and other products.


At the same time, the demand for crop products and a favorable price environment stimulate the development of the country's agro-industrial complex, increase the investment attractiveness of the entire industry and create favorable conditions for further intensification and diversification of production. However, to stabilize food prices for the population, uninterrupted the functioning of agri-food value chains and the facilitation of trade regimes both in Kazakhstan and at the regional level, and in general on a global scale.


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