Kazakhstan to invest $20B in agriculture

October 11. Universal Newswires

Kazakhstan to invest $20B in agricultureReeling from a drought that slashed its grain export, the Kazakh government on Wednesday announced a $20 billion investment push in its agricultural sector.

The country – Central Asia’s largest and a major global grain producer – aims to increase its production by 150 percent, agriculture ministry Executive Secretary Yevgeny Aman told reporters.

Labor production in the agricultural sector will be increased by 300 percent, Aman said in the Kazakh capital Astana as he presented Kazakhstan’s draft program for agricultural development for the years 2013-2020.

These increases will allow Kazakhstan to increase its agricultural exports by 20 percent, he noted.

As part of the developmental plan, the government will develop 16.8 million acres of unused cropland as a means of meeting increased targets of agricultural production, Aman added.

Kazakhstan in 2011 had a record year for grain production, placing it among the top global grain producers for the first time in its independent history. The country produced 21 million tons of grain, surpassing its previous record set in 1992-3.

But a destructive drought throughout Eurasia decimated crop harvests not only in Kazakhstan, but also Russia, Ukraine, and several of the smaller Central Asian states. Kazakhstan is expected to harvest 47  percent less grain this year, the agriculture ministry said this week.