Kazakhstan sees higher grain harvest, exports
Aug 25. Reuters. ASTANA
* Grain harvest forecast at 17.0-17.3 mln tonnes in 2009
* Grain exports seen at 7.0 mln tonnes in 2009-10
* Forecasts include flour
* Access to Black Sea ports will be restricted
Kazakhstan expects a 14.8 percent increase in exports of grain, including flour, in the 2009-10 marketing year after a bigger harvest this year, though access to Black Sea ports will be restricted, a farm official said.
The Food Contract Corporation, a major state-controlled grain exporter, expects Kazakhstan to ship 7.0 million tonnes of grain in the forthcoming marketing year, compared with 6.1 million tonnes in the current season, which ends in the autumn.
The 2009 harvest is forecast to reach between 17.0 million and 17.3 million tonnes, up from 15.6 million tonnes last year, Alexander Solyulev, the corporation’s first deputy chief executive, said on Tuesday.
“The increase in exports will be a result of the bigger wheat harvest this year,” Solyulev told a news conference.
Kazakhstan, five times the size of France with a population of only 15 million, has ranked sixth or seventh among the world’s wheat exporters in the last few years and has ambitions of breaking into the top five.
But the company’s exports are hampered by geography. Its only coast is on the landlocked Caspian Sea, and access to Black Sea ports via Russia and Ukraine has been restricted as its ex-Soviet neighbours have stepped up their own shipments.
Solyulev said this would remain a problem during the next marketing year, and that most Kazakh wheat exports would be aimed at other Central Asian countries, Afghanistan, Iran, Azerbaijan and Turkey.
“We consider these markets to be stable,” he said.
The Food Contract Corporation plans to increase purchases of milling wheat from the 2009 crop to 3.0 million tonnes from 1.6 million tonnes in 2008.
It exported only 177,000 tonnes of grain from last year’s crop and supplied the rest to the domestic market.
Solyulev did not say how much the company planned to export in the next marketing year. “Everything will depend on the situation in the domestic market,” he said.