KAZAKHSTAN — With forecasts of a bumper harvest, Kazakhstan officials said the nation plans to cancel wheat and flour export quotas next month, Reuters reported, citing Agriculture Minister Yerbol Karashukeyev.

The export limits were introduced in May to keep the domestic market stocked and cool inflation from rising global food prices.

In June, authorities said they would allow the shipment of 550,000 tonnes of wheat and 370,000 tonnes of flour up until Sept. 30.

In April the price of wheat in the Kazakhstani market reached US$355 per tonne, which is historically high.

The Kazakhstani grain industry said this is because there was a severe lack of wheat imports from Russia, and the available wheat is extremely expensive.

In previous years, lower priced wheat imports from Russia stopped domestic wheat prices from increasing.

As a result at least 50% of Kazakhstan’s flour mills ceased operating or were operating at very limited capacities and as of mid-April, millers said they have stocks left for about two weeks.

The situation has changed now, the (wheat) harvest outlook is optimistic – about 13 million tonnes, which is far more than last year

Yerbol Karashukeyev, Minister of Agriculture of the Republic of Kazakhstan

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To ensure adequate availability of wheat in the domestic market and to curb price increases amid rising global food prices, the Government of Kazakhstan introduced temporary quotas on wheat and wheat flour exports, with effect from 15 April to 15 June 2022. The quotas amount to 1 million tonnes and 300 000 tonnes for wheat grain and wheat flour, respectively.

In addition, exporters were obliged to sell 10 percent of declared export volumes to the state purchasing company “Prodcorporation”, which in turn will redirect these purchases to cover the needs of local bakeries, flourmills, livestock and poultry farming.

In June, Kazakhstan announced the extension of these wheat and wheat flour export restrictions, and traders were given an additional 550,000 tonnes of wheat and 370,000 tonnes of wheat flour to export until Sept. 30. 

With harvest estimates of 13 million tonnes, exceeding last year’s figure by 12 percent, the situation has changed now that the (wheat) harvest outlook is optimistic, Karashukeyev said.

The cabinet will discuss this week the agriculture ministry’s proposal to lift quotas.

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