Kazakhstan set to export grain to China

October 20. RIA Novosti. ASTANA

Kazakhstan set to export grain to ChinaKazakhstan, one of the world’s top 10 grain exporters, intends to supply grain to China to compensate for poor sales in traditional markets, the agriculture minister said on Tuesday.

The Central Asian republic gathered 22.7 million metric tons of grain in bunker weight in 2009, one of the best harvests in the past five years. However, the republic has come across difficulties with grain sales.

“It is necessary, first of all, to solve the problem of grain sales: world wheat prices have sagged amid the financial crisis and an increase in carryover grain reserves due to lower grain trade volumes, and are currently at their lowest level in the past few years,” Akylbek Kurishbayev said.

He also said that Kazakhstan’s major wheat importing countries, including former Soviet republics and the European Union, were stepping up their own wheat production.

“This situation has negatively affected our domestic market: traders are in no hurry with grain purchases and assumed a wait-and-see position. Due to the absence of grain shipments, elevators in the country’s major grain-growing regions are overfilled with grain,” he said.

At the same time, Kazakh Prime Minister Karim Masimov said that an agreement had been reached on Kazakh grain supplies to China.

“China has opened a quota for grain purchase and at the latest meeting the Chinese premier told me that China would buy as much grain as Kazakhstan would sell,” he said.