ASTANA – At a meeting of the Government chaired by Prime Minister Serik Akhmetov early this year, Minister of Agriculture Asylzhan Mamytbekov presented the new programme Agrobusiness 2020, which aims to help farmers increase their competitiveness.
The programme, for which three trillion tenge of public funds are allocated, will provide Kazakhstan’s producers with government support to compete in the Customs Union (CU) and, after Kazakhstan’s accession to that organisation, the WTO. The programme is to be implemented in four main areas: financial recovery, increasing the availability of goods and services, developing public systems for agro-industrial complex (AIC) subjects and improving the efficiency of state regulation.
The amount of the allotted sum, including 2.7 trillion tenge from the budget, is impressive and, according to Ablai Myrzakhmetov, chair of the National Economic Chamber of Kazakhstan, Atameken Union, demonstrates the government’s intention to achieve radical changes in the industry. “The new programme,” he said, “contains a clear message to agricultural producers: the state will create conditions for the development of business but not try to regulate it.”
Chair of the Kazakhstan Business Council of AIC Arman Yevniyev said that the process of the programme’s development has become an effective model of public-private partnership in action. The programme provides domestic agribusiness with unprecedented resources and effective tools. The agricultural sector will no longer be a social burden to the state and the home of low-wage jobs. Competitiveness and efficiency are the main conditions for those who want to participate in the programme. According to Mr. Yevniyev, the programme will have to be carefully implemented in each region.
Serik Akhanov, chairman of the Association of Financiers of Kazakhstan, noted that Agribusiness 2020 solves some of AIC’s major problems, which include high lending rates and a dearth of cheap, long-term sources of money. The document includes detailed measures regarding access to financial services and a system of financial instruments both traditional and new that will give a new boost to rural finance. In addition, the programme will strengthen the role of KazAgro as a source of funding for banks, which will facilitate villagers’ access to credit.
The prime minister noted the strategic importance of the programme in the implementation of tasks set by the president in the field of large-scale modernisation of agriculture within the country.
“We have fulfilled this important order of the president. The next step is consistent and concrete implementation of the programme,” Prime Minister Akhmetov said. “Due to proposed mechanisms of state support, all conditions for attracting private sector investments to agriculture will be created. This will boost the development of related industries and have a multiplying effect on the economy as a whole. All this will primarily have a positive impact on the living standards of rural residents.Akhmetov gave a number of instructions; for example, that the Ministry of Agriculture and other concerned bodies should develop master plans for each area of the programme, indicating the achievement of specific targets and performance indicators for years, over the next month. The state bodies were also ordered to establish an interagency working group and make suggestions to correct the relevant programme documents for the development of areas adjacent to agricultural fields.
In addition, the head of the Government announced the need for a broad explanation of the programme’s mechanisms and opportunities. Akhmetov ordered the appointment of officials who will be responsible for the achievement of indicators in master plans. “This will be the assessment of their work,” he added. Regional governors will need to provide access to the mechanisms of financial state support for each farmer and enterprise in the programme.
Overall, the coordination of the programme’s implementation was assigned to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Regional Development Bakhytzhan Sagintayev.