Negotiations help to reduce barriers of Kazakhstan wheat export to Afghanistan

May 25, 2015

Author: Andrey Sidorin

The primary staple crop for the Central Asian Republics is wheat grown in Kazakhstan.  The four other Central Asian Republics and Afghanistan are the largest importers of Kazakh wheat and imports have more than doubled in all of these countries since 2004.   In the Central Asian countries like Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Afghanistan, for example, wheat provides for more than 60% of daily calories, and a significant portion of that wheat is imported from Kazakhstan.  It has also been shown that spikes in food prices have been one of the major sources of food insecurity in Afghanistan and other Central Asian Republics. 

The price increase was largely connected with the difficulties to get free wheat export to the Country. For instance, according with the custom laws of the Republic of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan re-export of the food products including wheat to elsewhere is forbidden and Afghanistan could not get it re-exported vie these countries.

Taking this issue into the consolidated action plan USAID/UNDP Climate Resilient Wheat project has provided a platform to find solutions to overcome those barriers through international conference and side events at multilateral levels amongst involved agencies i.e. KazAgroMarketing, KazFood Corporation, Trade Chambers of Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Afghanistan. The above companies are mainly dealing with the import and export of the food products including wheat. During such meetings all the impeding barriers were well discussed and agreements were reached in order to put out a direct export of Kazakh wheat to Afghanistan.

At the result, a Memorandum of Understanding was deliberated and signed between these affected country representatives on the free transportation and export of Kazakh wheat to Afghanistan.

 Moreover, Afghan importers were enrolled into the roster of the KazAgroMarketing and KazFood Corporation and now they can freely import of Kazakh Wheat. The dynamic after-action of this quadripartite cooperation is that since 2012 more than 5 mln tones was exported to Afghanistan in a direct and free mode.   

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