Agriculture in Kazakhstan remains a small scale sector of Kazakhstan's economy. Agriculture's contribution to the GDP is under 10% - it was recorded as 6.7%, and as occupying only 20% of labor. At the same time, more than 70% of its land is occupied in crops and animal husbandry. Compared to North America, a relatively small percentage of land is used for crops, with the percentage being higher in the north of the country. 70% of the agricultural land is permanent pastureland.
Kazakhstan's largest crop is wheat, which it exports. It ranks as the sixth largest wheat producer in the world. Minor crops include barley, cotton, sugar beets, sunflowers, flax, and rice. Agricultural lands in Kazakhstan were depleted of their nutrients during the Virgin Lands Campaign during the Soviet era. This continues to impact production today. Kazakh wine is produced in the mountains east of Almaty.
In 2011 the country had achieved record grain harvests of 26.9 million tonnes, exceeding the previous record of 21mn tonnes recorded in 2009. For 2012, the Kazakh Agriculture Ministry cut the crop forecast to only 14 million tons because of dry weather.
Animals raised in Kazakhstan include cattle, chickens, sheep, pigs, horses and goats (in descending order of numbers). Meat production in tons was highest in cows, pork, mutton(meat), chicken, and "other meat." Wool, cow milk, and eggs are the other major animal products of the country.
In March 2015 the Minister of Agriculture of Kazakhstan said that Kazakhstan had almost doubled the agricultural production in the past 5 years. He also noted that the agricultural exports had increased by 1.6 times during that period and had reached 3 billion USD.
On July 23, 2015 Kazakhstan Vice Minister of Agriculture said that within the framework of the law "On Agricultural Cooperation" the special tax regime would be introduced for agricultural cooperatives. This initiative is expected to contribute to the development of the agricultural sector of Kazakhstan.
Agribusiness - 2020
In February 2013, the Government of Kazakhstan approved a new sectoral program of agro-industrial complex development for 2013-2020 вЂњAgribusiness вЂ“ 2020вЂќ at a session chaired by Prime Minister Serik Akhmetov. The Agribusiness-2020 Program aims at developing four dimensions: financial recovery, increase of affordability of products, works and services for the agro-industrial sector entities, development of the state system of agricultural producers support, improvement of efficiency of the state management system of the agro-industrial complex.
In line with the Agribusiness-2020 Program the Government of Kazakhstan approved one stimulation package in April 2014: the rules of subsidizing efforts to restore agricultural companies to health. In the first half of 2014 it is planned to provide 140 billion tenge ($770 million) to second-tier banks for this purpose. Experts doubt that capital subsidies alone can provide a remedy to Kazakhstan's agricultural development challenges. Instead, more encompassing institutional reforms such as improvements in the rural education system and a devolution of political power to local decision makers are recommended.