EU Science Hub

The potential for expanding wheat production and exports in Kazakhstan

Abstract: 
Together with Russia and Ukraine, Kazakhstan is considered as a ‘future main player’ in world grain supply. Many observers have indeed argued that Central Asia, and especially Kazakhstan, has the potential to enhance local, regional and global food security by expanding grain production and exports. This study provides an overview of the Kazakh farming sector; agricultural policies; wheat production, processing, and logistics, environmental resources and challenges; and on domestic consumption, exports and prices of wheat. Based on this information, it is concluded that Kazakhstan has a great potential for expanding its wheat production and exports in the future and it could play a non-negligible role in fulfilling local, but especially regional, food security. By compensating for the export fluctuations of other major players, it could have an important stabilizing role on the world market for wheat and thereby contribute to global food security. Nevertheless, this positive view on the future of Kazakh wheat production is highly conditional on several factors. Projections on the role of climate change are uncertain, but may lead to considerable yield losses. In addition, investments in infrastructure and machinery will be essential to unlock the wheat potential of the country and to compensate for the potential consequences of climate change, water scarcity and soil degradation.