Kazakh Ministry of Agriculture upgrades equipment, increases crop variety

NUR-SULTAN – The Ministry of Agriculture has upgraded spring sowing and harvesting equipment with new investment subsidies and introduced the Northern Soya programme to diversify crop production, according to information provided at the June 7 press conference on spring sowing results.

Photo credit: moa.gov.kz.

In 2019, the government allocated 65 billion tenge (US$169.64 million) to purchase spring sowing and harvesting equipment. In addition, investment in agriculture and construction increased 1.5 times, said Minister of National Economy Ruslan Dalenov at June 11 government meeting.

Upgrading spring sowing and harvesting equipment is among the ministry’s priorities this year, said First Vice Minister of Agriculture Aidarbek Saparov.

Investment subsidies and interest rate subsidies on vehicle leasing are a vital part of the state support measures to increase vehicle fleets. KazAgroFinance, a subsidiary of KazAgro, is the main tool to upgrade machine-tractor fleet leasing, agricultural equipment and farm machinery, said KazAgro Managing Director Assylkhan Juvashev.

“There is a need to update the equipment up to 6 percent annually. Today, the equipment is updated at 1.5-2 percent per year,” said Juvashev.

KazAgro Managing Director Assylkhan Juvashev. Photo credit: moa.gov.kz.

The interest rate subsidy programme reduced rates to 4-6 percent per annum and applications increased 1.5 times in a year. To date, KazAgroFinance has approved more than 65 billion tenge (US$169.64) to lease equipment, with an annual plan of 65 billion tenge (US$169.64). As of June 6, KazAgro has financed 2,400 pieces of agricultural equipment used to plant and harvest spring fields.

In addition, KazAgroFinance is working to expedite decision-making processes and reduce paperwork.

During his recent working visit to Moscow, Prime Minister Askar Mamin signed a memorandum of cooperation with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to assemble K-744 combines in Kazakhstan.

“In Kostanai, we assemble harvesters; in Kokshetau, (we assemble) Kamaz vehicles. For equipment that is bought from us, a 25-percent subsidy is provided. In addition, another 10 percent can be given from the local budget,” said Saparov.

First Vice Minister of Agriculture Aidarbek Saparov. Photo credit: moa.gov.kz.

This ​​spring’s sowing area covered 19 million hectares, 76.31 percent of which was devoted to cereals and 14.21 percent to oilseeds The remainder was planted with vegetables, melons and potatoes, fodder crops and industrial crops (sugar beet, cotton, tobacco).

To diversify the crops, the Ministry of Agriculture and North Kazakhstan Region Akimat (administration) developed the Northern Soya programme, said Saparov. The programme, as its name suggest, assists agricultural complexes in producing soybeans in the northern regions. To date, 14,000 hectares in the region have been sown with soybeans. In five years, Northern Soya should increase land use to 1.5 million hectares and gross yield to 3.2 million tonnes.

This year’s sowing involved 147,000 tractors, 4,000 high-efficiency sowing complexes, 79,500 grain seeders and 249,000 tillage tools, an additional 4,000 tractors and 300 sowing complexes compared to 2018. The operation benefited from favourable weather conditions that should guarantee a good harvest, said Saparov.

“We carried out a sowing campaign with quality seeds at the optimal time. Mineral fertilisers were introduced in time and precipitation was about normal and above normal in some regions. Therefore, we expect the harvest not to be lower than last year,” he said.