Kazakh PM Pledges Greater Aid to Farmers Affected by Droughts

NUR-SULTAN – Farmers in the Mangistau and Kyzylorda regions are facing an extremely severe drought caused by low rainfall and rising temperatures. More support measures should be provided to farmers and herders affected by droughts, Kazakh Prime Minister Askar Mamin said during his working visit to the Mangistau Region on July 23.

Heat wave in Central Asia causes water shortages and increased livestock mortality. Click to see the map in full size.

Along with land degradation and desertification, the drought left livestock starving which severely affected local herders. 

The Aral district in the Kyzylorda Region announced a state of emergency on July 14. Low rainfall made 90 percent of pastures unsuitable. The situation remains grim as more than 500 heads of cattle have died. The region organized around-the-clock monitoring of the situation and volunteer teams stepped up in neighboring villages working in the fields in the Kazaly, Karmaksha, and Syrdarya districts. 

During the visit, Mamin also inspected the newly built Tetysblu thematic part in Aktau’s tourist zone. Photo credit: primeminister.kz

While in the Mangistau Region, Mamin met with the region’s akim (governor) Serikbai Trumov to discuss the current situation with livestock and ongoing work to provide fodder to drought-affected areas. 

Hay will be supplied from neighboring regions – Aktobe, West Kazakhstan, and Kostanai. More than 1,200 tons of barley were delivered and sold to farmers at a below-market price. 

Overall, the government allocated 1.9 billion tenge (US$4.45 million) for partial reimbursement of feed costs for breeding stock in the Mangistau Region alone. 

Additional funds will be allocated to establish a stabilization fund for the purchase and delivery of nearly 114,700 tons of hay to farms at an affordable price and purchase 56,300 tons of forage. 

A week earlier, Acting Agriculture Minister Yerbol Karashukeev met with local farmers to discuss their situation. He promised farmers the ministry will provide support. 

Measures will also be taken to ban the export of fodder from the country. 

“Together with the akimat (regional administration), we will take systematic measures to develop fodder production and improve the pastures. An inventory of all abandoned wells must be conducted. Furthermore, the construction of water diversion dams and the cultivation of arid crops will be undertaken with scientists. And, most importantly, timely decisions must be made when critical situations arise because these risks are predictable,” said Karashukeev. He temporarily replaced Saparkhan Omarov who was fired by President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev on July 10 for failing to support farmers hit by the drought. 

Drought, however, has affected not only Kazakhstan but the entire region of Central Asia. Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan also report high temperatures, low levels of rainfall, and water in water reservoirs that have drastically impacted the agricultural sector. 

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