Saudi Arabia interested in importing Kazakh grain
May 27. Tengrinews
By Assel Satubaldina
Saudi Arabia has expressed interest in importing grain from Kazakhstan, Tengrinews reports.
In recent years, Saudi Arabia has been increasing its grain imports in pursuance of the policy adopted in 2008 to reduce domestic production of wheat, and completely phase out wheat cultivation by 2016. The main reason behind the policy is exhaustion of the country’s water resources.
The chairman of the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry Abdul Rahman Al-Zamil spoke about importing Kazakhstan’s grain at the Kazakh-Saudi Arabian business forum held in Astana on May 13.
“This year we must pay attention to two things: first, once the Chamber of Entrepreuners of Kazakhstan and Saudi Arabia step up their joint work, together with the Ministry we must find a practical solution, so that the Government of Kazakhstan provides preferences to stimulated export of Kazakh grain to Saudi Arabia. Kazakhstan’s grain is of high quality and I hope we won’t have any problems with (importing) it again,” he said.
These preferences are necessary for grain exporters of land-locked Kazakhstan to compensate for transport expenses, so that at the end the price of Kazakhstan’s grain is competitive compared to other better located suppliers.
Currently, Kazakh grain is exported to over 70 countries worldwide, and Kazakhstan is among the world’s top ten exporters of grain. The main importers are the post soviet countries, the Middle East and the European Union.
According to Vice Minister of Agriculture of Kazakhstan Saparkhan Omarov, the country’s grain exports potential for 2014-2015 stands at 7 million tons. “As of today, 4.7 million tons have been exported, mainly to other Central Asian states – Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Iran (2.1 million tons), Russia (119 000 tons), China (55 000 tons), EU countries (61 000 tons), and the Middle East (17 900 tons),” he said in March.