20 Jul 2010 10:52

Kazakh grain harvest to be up to 40% less than in 2009

ASTANA. July 20 (Interfax) - Kazakhstan's grain harvest this year will weigh in at an expected 13.5-14.5 million tonnes, 36%-40.5% smaller than last year's 20.6 million clean-weight tonnes, Agriculture Minister Akykbek Kurishbayev said during a Tuesday government meeting in Astana.

"The gross grain harvest, according to our forecasts, will be 13.5-14.5 million tonnes this year," Kurishbayev said.

The country has just roughly 7 million tonnes of grain left over from last year's harvest, he said. "So, this amount of grain is enough to fully meet domestic market needs and maintain the country's high export potential," he said. Kazakhstan's grain-export potential this year is estimated at 12.5-13 million tonnes.

Despite this year's drought, Kazakhstan will be able to harvest a rather good crop thanks to the active introduction of moisture-saving technology, as well as a successful battle with locusts, Kurishbayev said.

At the beginning of July, Deputy Agriculture Minister Arman Yevniyev said Kazakhstan planned to harvest 14.5-15.5 million tonnes of grain this year. However, the last few months have brought rainless weather to the country's main grain-growing regions.