Kazakhstan Sees Lower Grain Crop This Year

Kazakhstan Sees Lower Grain Crop This Year

ASTANA, June 20 (Reuters) – Kazakhstan, Central Asia’s biggest grain producer, sees its 2017 grain crop at between 17 million and 18 million tonnes, lower than last year, Agriculture Minister Askar Myrzakhmetov said, in his first estimate for the new season.

Last year’s grain crop totalled 20.6 million tonnes.

Kazakhstan, which supplies grain to its Central Asian and Caspian Sea neighbours, plans to export 8 million-8.5 million tonnes of grain in the new 2017/18 marketing year, which starts on July 1, the minister told Reuters.

The spring grain sowing was completed within the planned timeframe despite unfavourable weather, and the moisture level in soil is not bad, the minister said, adding that the country needed between 9 million and 9.5 million tonnes of grain for annual domestic consumption.

He did not give forecasts for the wheat crop and exports.

According to the latest Reuters poll of estimates for 2017/18, Kazakhstan is expected to export 7 million tonnes of wheat, including flour, up 2.9 percent year-on-year, while the size of the crop will fall by 11.3 percent to 13.3 million tonnes.

The current 2016/17 marketing year runs until June 30. Kazakhstan exported 7.1 million tonnes of grain in July 1-May 10. (Reporting by Raushan Nurshayeva; writing by Polina Devitt; editing by Katya Golubkova and Susan Fenton)