Kazakh Farmers Adapting to Chinese Market

ASTANA – In order to seize the Chinese market, Kazakh farmers need to unite in cooperatives, said National Chamber of Entrepreneurs Atameken Deputy Chairperson Nurzhan Altayev during a briefing on promoting his nation’s products.98989-preview-image

China currently ranks third in the world in food imports after the European Union and the United States. The country imports more than $115 billion in foodstuffs every year, but Kazakhstan’s participation is only 0.1 percent. Adapting to the Chinese market is not an easy task and one Kazakh farmers cannot handle alone, he said.

“Do not think that as the Chinese market is now open we all should run there. There will be very serious checks of the quality of products and their certification. To do this, we primarily need to ensure that our farmers are united in cooperatives. It would be very difficult to enter this market with small deliveries; there should be appropriate packaging of the product and certain volumes. We, the National Chamber Atameken, are ready to help, to assist in this work; to accompany, almost by hand, all these entrepreneurs so they could enter the Chinese market,” he added.

Altayev noted the chamber has been successful in its efforts to connect small honey farmers.

“For example, in the East Kazakhstan region we have united 1,500 farmers on honey production in a cooperative. By joint efforts and resources, they were able to organise a recycling and packaging plant and now with the volume of honey they produce together, they will be able to enter the Chinese market. A veterinary inspectorate was invited by China; they checked the quality of honey and were satisfied with it and saw there were no additives or antibiotics. In the near future, a certificate will be issued and, accordingly, the Chinese market will open for Kazakhstan’s honey,” he said.

The chamber intends to work on each product which domestic farmers are ready to supply, adding the assistance is open to any Kazakh agrarian. The detailed step by step instructions are available at www.palata.kz in the special section “Export to China.” Applicants need to complete a questionnaire providing specific details about the product and planned exports. Chinese officials will read the document first and if there is interest in the proposal, a veterinary inspector will be sent to check the products. Should the review be successfully completed, the appropriate certificate will be issued.

For more information, entrepreneurs can contact the call centre at 8-800-080-80-10 or send a request to [email protected].

Kazakhstan has every chance of entering the top ten countries exporting agricultural products to China, said Altayev.

“Our products are environmentally friendly and globally marketed as organic in many countries, including China. Kazakhstan’s products are in great demand and the prices are very, very different from the prices in the country. We looked at many types of products. Prices are five-seven and in some cases and 10 times higher than in the domestic market of Kazakhstan,” he noted.

Altayev added changes have also been made in the meat industry. For many years, restrictions existed on Kazakh beef because it was believed there are certain risks of various diseases. The restrictions have been lifted in nine regions and the National Chamber of Entrepreneurs is actively working jointly with the Ministry of Agriculture to remove similar barriers on other types of products.