OECD Review of Agricultural Policies: Kazakhstan 2013


Greater investment in transport infrastructure, agricultural research and food safety systems is needed to help Kazakhstan boost the long-term competitiveness of its farm sector and meet wider economic diversification objectives.

This report reviews progress in Kazakhstan's agricultural sector over the past two decades, since it transitioned from a planned to a market economy, and proposes policy reforms that will enable the country to take full advantage of its vast agricultural potential.

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Recommendations of the report

OECD analysis suggests the following reforms to help Kazakhstan boost its agriculture sector:

  • Re-focus policy efforts on strategic investments such as transport infrastructure, agricultural research and innovation, food safety systems and training.
  • Increase efforts to integrate small-scale producers into agricultural markets and to diversify and improve rural incomes.
  • Adopt a broader vision of food security through a diversified policy approach including sustainable productivity growth, rural development, poverty reduction and trade openness.
  • Improve the economic incentives for sustainable resource management and incorporate environmental concerns into agricultural policies.
  • Develop policies and tools for risk management in agriculture.
  • Clarify the role of state agencies in agriculture.
  • Improve governance of agricultural policy.

Facts about agriculture in Kazakhstan

  • Over 80% of the country’s total area is classified as agricultural land, including almost 70% occupied by pasture. Arable land constitutes less than 10% of the country’s total land area, but its availability per inhabitant (1.5 hectares) is the second highest in the world after Australia (2.1 hectares).

  • Agriculture contributed 5% of Kazakhstan's GDP in 2011 and 26% of its employment.

  • Government support to agriculture in Kazakhstan over the 2009-11 period, measured by the OECD Producer Support Estimate, was KZT 200 billion (USD 1.36 billion) per year. This represents an average 11% of farmers’ gross receipts, which is below the average for OECD economies.

  • After the dissolution of the USSR in 1991, agriculture in Kazakhstan experienced a difficult transition from a planned to a market economy. A gradual recovery began in the early 2000s, followed by a rise in Kazakhstan’s total trade in agro-food products in the second half of that decade, when it became one of the world’s top grain exporters. (See graphic and data on right)

Kazakhstan’s agro-food trade, 1995-2010, USD million

Source: UN COMTRADE database
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