Sugar prices in Kazakhstan have increased several times over the past few months despite the fact that manufacturing has not stopped and the sugar supply to the regions has not been interrupted, Khabar 24 Channel reports.
No sweet deals
The price for a kilogram of sugar is reportedly the lowest in Aktobe, starting at 670 tenge. In convenience stores in Almaty, sugar is sold for 700 tenge. Sellers in Nur-Sultan set the price to 750 tenge per kilogram, as well as in Atyrau. In Shymkent and Kostanay, sugar is sold for almost 800 tenge. In some regions, according to journalists, no more than 2-3 kilograms is sold per person. Food producers in Kazakhstan expect sugar to grow in price up to 1,000 tenge per kilogram by fall.
This year, only 12,000 tons of sugar beet were sown in Kazakhstan. Farmers had to face a number of challenges related to the cultivation of this plant, according to Yerbol Yeseneyev, Director of the Agro-Industrial complex and Food industry Department in “Atameken” National Chamber of entrepreneurs. Firstly, sugar beet is a moisture-loving crop, yet the agricultural lands have been reported to be dry. Secondly, Kazakhstan is 90% dependent on imported seeds. Another factor is the underdevelopment of Kazakhstan's own selection process and irrigation technologies.
Atameken National Chamber proposes to launch a program for industry development for the next five years. It should increase the crop area of sugar beet in the country so factories could operate at full capacity. The farmers of Almaty, Zhambyl and Turkestan regions will presumably need about 104,000 hectares of land for this. Moreover, farmers should be provided with subsidies, since the cultivation of this crop is a costly process.
The Department of Agro-Industrial Complex and Food Industry also suggests that it is worth focusing on shifting consumer demand to alternative food items, such as promoting the implementation of honey into the everyday diet.