Representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Association of Food Industry Producers spoke about the state of domestic sugar production and the availability of this product on the market at an expert round table, Zakon.kz correspondent reports.
According to Kanat Zhauymbayev, Director of the Department of Agri-Food Markets and Processing of Agricultural Products of the Ministry of Agriculture, Kazakhstan remains highly dependent on sugar for imports.
“The country is only 40% provided with sugar of its own production. If we look at raw materials, we are only 10% provided with domestic raw materials – sugar beets. We import 60% of sugar, of which the lion’s share falls on Russia and Belarus.”
He recalled that last year there was a shortage in Kazakhstan and a shock price jump due to problems with the supply of sugar from Russia and Belarus.
“This revealed our food security problems in terms of providing sugar. Thus, the price per kilogram of sugar in stores rose from 400 tenge to 900 tenge in a short period.”
Chairman of the Association of Sugar, Food and Processing Industries Aizhan Naurzgaliyeva drew attention to the fact that the rules for containing and stabilizing sugar prices, as well as state support for producers, have not yet been approved.
“If the rules had been adopted in September-October, then today we would not have to compete with Russian sugar, which is now sold in Kazakhstan at 360 tenge per kilogram. While the cost of our sugar is higher than the selling price of Russian sugar.”
She also noted that in Kazakhstan there is not enough acreage for sugar beets, and the raw materials supplied to sugar factories from farmers are often of poor quality.