Agriculture Sector in Kazakhstan: From Virgin Soil to the Present Days

This year it is the 60th anniversary of the beginning of the virgin and fallow lands development in Kazakhstan.

In March, 1954, a decision has been adopted “On further increase in grain production and development of virgin and fallow lands”. It was planned to expand planting of cereal crops by at least 13 million hectares not only in Kazakhstan, but also in Siberia, in the Urals and Volga region, Altay Territory and other regions of the Soviet Union. And half of these areas had to be developed in our country in just single year!

In the same year, by the Decree of the Kazakh SSR’s Government the Research Institute of Grain Farming was established in Shortandy village near Tselinograd (today, village is named after the chief agriculturist of the virgin soil Alexander Barayev). The Research Institute has developed a system of agriculture that ensures reliable soil protection against erosion, and allowed to increase the cereal crops yielding capacity. The Barayev’s technology has been widely accepted and applied not only in Kazakhstan but also in other USSR countries.

Eventually, if in 1953 Kazakhstan had 11.3% of wheat planted area in the former Soviet Union, then by 1960 the proportion reached 30%. In general, for seven years of virgin lands development, Kazakhstan produced more than 100 million tons of grain.

The Minister of Agriculture Asylzhan Mamytbekov held in Astana the solemn meeting dedicated to the 60th anniversary of the virgin lands development, which also was coincide with the Agricultural Sector Worker Day of Kazakhstan (it is celebrated on the third Sunday of November).

“Today, solution of radical reform tasks in the agriculture sector and introduction of new support tools for domestic agricultural commodity producers are within the Agrobusiness-2020 Industry Program”, - said A. Mamytbekov at a meeting. - ”Thanks to the State support, the agricultural sector becomes more and more attractive to investors. Over the past three years, the agricultural sector of the Republic attracted investments to the amount of 383 billion KZT, while the proportion of farmers’ own funds was 60% of the total amount.”

The Agriculture of Kazakhstan now has 21.8 million hectares of crop areas. And the average yield of cereals in the country now is 12 tons per hectare, the gross agricultural product has grown almost fourfold since 2004, exports of agricultural products and processed agricultural products – threefold.

The agricultural sector is becoming more attractive for investments. Due to the measures of State support, Kazakhstan is among the world top flour export performers over the past six years. In addition, in this year, about 10 thousand tons of meat and meat products including about 5 thousand tons of beef has already been exported.

As for the special aspects of grain harvesting, the Executive Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, Arman Yevniev, advanced an idea on the further technical modernization in the agriculture sector: “The main lesson is that the harvesting pace depends not so much on availability of harvesting machinery and combine harvesters, but on the grain receiving capacity of grain elevators. This is a great signal for the market: it is required to buy dryers, to build grain elevators, storages, to acquire modern combine harvesters, and we are confident that there are all possibilities for this.”

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