Kyrgyzstan significantly increases imports of Russian wheat
Kyrgyzstan has significantly increased imports of Russian wheat. The Russian Federation’s share in the grain market in the republic has increased to 97 percent, Azernews reports, citing 24.kg News Agency.
According to the country’s National Statistical Committee, in January — September 2023, Russia supplied about 207,000 tons of wheat to Kyrgyzstan. This is 17 percent more than in the same period in 2022. Thanks to this, it was possible to cope with the threat of rising prices for socially significant products and to support related industries — flour milling enterprises, the work of which largely depends on imported raw materials.
It is noted that the increase in the share of Russian grain in the local market is associated with two factors. The first, external, is restrictions on supplies from Kazakhstan, introduced by the authorities of the neighboring republic due to drought, which led to the harvest reduction. Before these measures were taken, about half of the total flour needed by Kyrgyzstan was imported from Kazakhstan.
«The price of a bag of flour before the ban on supplies from Kazakhstan was 1,400 soms. Afterwards it rose to 1,500,» the Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers Bakyt Torobaev said.
To keep the price from skyrocketing, the Kyrgyzstan’s authorities had to take extraordinary measures. The government has imposed a temporary ban on the export of wheat flour and grain abroad, which will remain in effect at least until the spring of 2024. At the same time, it was decided to allocate 40,000 tons of wheat from the State Material Reserves Fund for the country’s processing enterprises. At the same time, in the capital and regions, by order of the authorities, points were opened where citizens can buy flour at a price below the market one. Then the government introduced state regulation of bread prices.
Another factor that led to a sharp increase in supplies from Russia was the reduction in the grain harvest in Kyrgyzstan. The reason is the same as in Kazakhstan, drought.
According to the National Statistical Committee, due to abnormally high temperatures in the summer during the growing season, the gross harvest of wheat decreased by 25.8 percent, and barley — by 29.5 percent.
Despite the increase in grain supplies from Russia to the Kyrgyz market, in dollar terms, imports of the socially important product decreased by 31 percent. According to the National Statistical Committee of the Kyrgyz Republic, this is due to a reduction of the average price of Russian wheat. Since the beginning of the year, it has fallen in price by 41 percent and was estimated at $161 per ton by the beginning of October 2023.
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