Friday, 27 January 2017

Kazakhstan to increase corn output

Kazakhstan plans to improve the profitability of its grain industry by 30% to 40% over the next four years according to officials from the central Asian country.

The policy is to introduce new state grants, approve new organic standards, cut down on wheat cultivation while increasing corn and soybeans.

They also aim to enrol 670,000 small agricultural farmers into cooperatives who will then be able to access further subsidises.

Seems like a great idea to redirect support from big business and make it available for smaller farmers assuming it does contribute to the target improvement in profitability which I suspect it won’t.

Organic appears to be  flavour of the month in Ukraine and Russia as well as Kazakhstan which usually happens when politicians take an interest in farming and advisors and experts show them the numbers and they then can’t believe why more farmers haven’t ditched the sprayer and converted to organic en masse (it’s because they don’t have internationally recognised organic standards and the market is beyond reach in Europe).

I’m not sure restricting wheat production is a good idea, it’s one commodity they do export in significant quantities and having experienced the climate and soils of Kazakhstan I’m not sure I’d advise growing those crops, anyway I thought Khrushchev’s disastrous virgin lands policy of the fifties had demonstrated that corn wasn’t a good idea.

Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Russia all appear to be maintaining or increasing agricultural subsidies at the same time that UK farmers are, in all likelihood, facing significant reduction or even cessation of financial support altogether.

Theresa May might want to give that some thought while she’s talking with Donald Trump this afternoon.

We plan to include Kazakhstan in our spring crop assessments during this years crop tours if we can raise sufficient funds to cover costs, drop me a line if you would like more detail and would be interested in supporting our work