Agriculture in Kazakhstan
Kazakhstan is an important producer and exporter of high-quality wheat. Average annual production is about 13 million tons, but output is highly dependent on weather and in recent years has fluctuated between 10 and 17 million tons. Between 2 and 8 million tons is exported annually, mainly to destinations in Europe (including Russia and Ukraine), northern Africa, and Central Asia. Kazakhstan also produces around 2 million tons of barley, and a small amount of oats, corn, and rice, but wheat is by far the countryâ€™s most important commodity. The production of oilseeds (sunflowerseed and rapeseed) is increasing but total oilseed output remains well below 1.0 million tons. The country also grows a small amount of cotton in southern Kazakhstan, with annual lint output at around 100, 000 tons.
This article provides a brief overview of Kazakhstan crop production (focusing chiefly on wheat, the countryâ€™s most important commodity) and is based on information from a variety of sources, including previous FAS Commodity Intelligence Reports, reports from the U.S. agricultural attache, and interviews with farm directors and agricultural officials in Kazakhstan.
According to Kazakhstanâ€™s first comprehensive agricultural census, conducted in 2006, 61 percent of Kazakhstanâ€™s 76.5 million hectares of agricultural land is permanent pasture, and 32 percent is classified as arable land (systematically cultivated for the production of row crops). Of the remainder, 3 percent is used for hay production and 4 percent is â€ślong fallowâ€ť (indicating potentially arable land that has remained uncultivated for at least several consecutive years). Of the 24 million hectares of arable land, about two-thirds, approximately 18 million hectares, is devoted to grain production.
Total sown area, including grains, forage crops (mostly perennial grasses), technical crops (chiefly oilseeds and cotton), and food crops (potatoes, vegetables, and melons) decreased sharply during the late 1990â€™s due to the contraction of grain and forage-crop area. (The decline in grain area actually began in the 1970â€™s.) Grain area began to rebound in 2000, and by 2008 had grown by 40 percent from the 1999 level, while forage area essentially stabilized in the early 2000â€™s after a 10-year nosedive.
The Main Wheat Production Region
Kazakhstan consists of 14 administrative territories, or oblasts. About 75 percent of the countryâ€™s wheat is produced in three oblasts in north-central Kazakhstan: Kostanai, Akmola, and North Kazakhstan. Kostanai alone plants about...