Every year weather throes a curve to agrarians all over the world, and Kazakhstan is not an exception. How the weather conditions this season in Kazakhstan — one of the TOP-10 exporters of wheat in the world — influenced the formation of the quality grain harvest, and other factors that had its impact on formation of the export batches of Kazakh grains, You can read in the interview of APK-Infrom Agency with the General Director of Baltic Control Kazakhstan, Gulmira Abisheva,.
— In Kazakhstan the harvest of grains and pulses is underway. The Ministry of Agriculture of Kazakhstan reports the high yield and quality parameters of the crops. What can You say about the preliminary results of the harvest and crop condition?
Indeed, the harvesting campaign 2019 started earlier than usually and for now it is underway in all regions. The drought in July is one of the reasons of the early harvest. By the end of August, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, the harvest was 32% complete (it is nearly twice higher compared with the same period last year).
Speaking of the crop condition — it is rather different. In the regions that received enough precipitation (mostly forest-steppe zone of Akmola oblast), agricultural producers expect to receive good crops with high quality parameters.
Some farms already almost finished the harvesting campaign of barley, which was planted during the first ten days of May. The specific weight totals 25-28 ts/ha.
In North Kazakhstan oblast, the harvesting campaign has just started and is nearly 21% complete. As the weather was more favourable than in other oblasts, the crops are expected to be good (excluding rapeseed). And now, it is important for the weather to be favourable for crops ripening and harvesting in the autumn.
In Kostanay oblast, the harvest is almost one month faster and by the end of September it was 37% complete. In some oblasts, agrarians started harvesting lentils and peas. For now, agrarians halted the field works after the recent rains.
In steppe zone, there are the planted areas that were affected by draught that influenced the growth of the plants and grain formation.
— Many analysts expect that in 2019/20 MY Kazakhstan can increase the exports of durum wheat by 25% (to 652 thsd tonnes). What are the competitive quality parameters of Kazakh wheat compared with Canadian one?
Kazakh durum wheat is not a direct competitor to Canadian grain. Our durum has lower vitreousness and it is more valued for high protein content. Herewith, the complicated logistics and rather small production volumes do not allow to compete with Canadian origin.
Nevertheless, the steady customers of our durum wheat (Italy, Russia, Turkey) value the Kazakh grain for its high quality parameters — natural weight and gluten deformation index.
Still it is too early to speak about the quality of wheat of 2019 crop as the harvest of the grain has not started yet. I believe that we will be able to tell more about the quality during the conference “KazakhGrainExport 2019” in Istanbul.
— How in Your observations for the 5 recent years the weather conditions did influence the quality of Kazakh grains? Do You face the changes in the quantity of the main quarantine pests?
It is known that the climate changes all over the world and Kazakhstan is not an exception. To the north of Kazakhstan, which is the main grain producing region, the climate is extremely continental with rapid change of day-time and night-time temperatures, frequent draughts followed by long cold rains. It is also known that this territory is a zone of risky agriculture. I want to note that the quality seeds and crop protection products use allow reducing the risks of crop quality reduction, caused by the weather factor.
— Kazakhstan continues accelerating the exports of grains by increasing the number of countries-importers. Which countries have the highest standards in terms of grains?
China and the EU have the highest standards of import. China has the most tough requirements concerning the quarantine pests in the import grain consignments. The EU countries have the tough requirements over the safety parameters: pesticides, heavy metals, grain micotoxins, and the tough restrictions of pesticides.
Also, I’d like to draw Your attention to the fact that during the export deliveries there are cases of grain export consignment quality parameters discrepancy against required by the contract. Such cases are mostly caused by the different methodologies and standards in Kazakhstan and international ones.
— How is the issue of Kazakh and international standards harmonization resolved?
The issue of the harmonization of the standards is resolved at the country level. Our company multiple times initiated this procedure, being the technical expert of the Kazakh Grain Union, and we are part of every expert panel.
The main problems turn up with such quality parameters as: other crops admixture (for example, of hard wheat or barley in soft wheat), the admixture of grain and oilseeds, the quantity and quality of gluten, vitreousness.
A solution to the issue of harmonization of Kazakh standards to the international can not be taken at ones, and we must work over it starting today. The market develops, Kazakhstan is one of TOP-6 largest exporters and we must work out the standards that are common for our importers. And since today every elevators is in fact an exporter, it is necessary to implement the main international standards on the elevators, to improve the professional level of the laboratories’ staff in terms of export deliveries. Our company is ready to train and to share our experience in dealing with the international contracts.
This year at the premises of Baltic Control Kazakhstan there were several workshops for heads of laboratories of several elevators, and the interest to the knowledge is high.
— How does the imperfection of the grain infrastructure of Kazakhstan influence development of the Kazakh grain exports?
The main problem arises during the transportation. The lack of wagon fleet and the fact that Kazakhstan has only one exit to the navigable routes — these are the factors that result in high cost of Kazakh grain and do not allow to widen the number of importing countries.
— Please, share with us Your company results of operation for the last season.
If we speak about the export deliveries in 2018/19 MY, our company inspected more than 3 mln tonnes of different agricultural plant products. Last season the quality parameters of the grains were traditional for Kazakhstan — high level of gluten, protein, weight and gluten deformation index. In general, for the last 5 years despite the climatic and technological changes in grain production, there were no snaps in quality. Kazakh wheat as usually is valued by buyers for its high baking quality.
We hope that 2019 year will not let Kazakh agrarians down!
Interviewed by Julia Shevchenko, APK-Inform Agency
We should remind that the Group of Companies Baltic Control Kazakhstan became the General Sponsor of the international conference “KazakhGrainExport 2019”, to be held in Istanbul, Turkey, on September 19-20. Within frames of the conference, Gulmira Abisheva will make a report “Analysis of the existing standards and the measures of their harmonization”.