A new vision for agriculture
momagri, movement for a world agricultural organization, is a think tank chaired by Christian Pèes.
It brings together, managers from the agricultural world and important people from external perspectives,
such as health, development, strategy and defense. Its objective is to promote regulation
of agricultural markets by creating new evaluation tools, such as economic models and indicators,
and by drawing up proposals for an agricultural and international food policy.
A look at the news

The grain crop in Kazakhstan looks morose

November 19, 2012


Shadowing Russia and Ukraine, it is now the turn of Kazakhstan––Central Asia’s breadbasket­¬––to adjust downwards its 2012 harvest following the severe drought it experienced this summer.

According to Kazakh Government figures issued on November 6, the crop stands at 14.7 million tons, against 26.9 million tons in 2011, while the total area harvested only slightly decreased (approximately 33 million acres against 35.2 million acres the previous year). In other words, the crops are almost halved. Other local sources are reporting that the 2012 harvest could be even more affected. The website tengrinews.kz is indicating a volume of 11.8 million tons, while other informants are stating instances of local governors putting pressure on farmers to inflate their output volumes.

The country, which exports about half of its agricultural production to its Central Asian neighbors, the Near East, North Africa and Afghanistan, plans to export seven million tons of wheat in 2012, an amount that is only two thirds of its 2011 wheat exports.

Even though these figures are not yet affecting global agricultural prices, they nevertheless remain subject to the hyper-volatility that typifies financial markets, and to sharp price turnarounds. The situation could then be reversed in the future. So, tapping into the country’s strategic reserves to stabilize domestic prices––an approach adopted by Moscow in late October––may be momentarily required.

Likewise, the other Black Sea major nations have nothing to be excited about. In the end, Russia expects to harvest 70 million tons of wheat, against 94.2 million tons in 2011. In Moscow, some analysts are even more pessimistic, and go as far as predicting a 38 million ton output this year. For its part, Ukraine might pay a high price for the mixed signals sent to global agricultural markets, since it cast doubt on an export ban to be implemented on November 15, and then denied the information. Kiev ended up by causing not only “unnecessary tension” on global agricultural markets––as European Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Ciolos complained––but also by losing one of its key clients, Egypt, which just announced it is removing Ukraine from its list of suppliers for 2013.

For Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan, the temptation of protectionism is considerable, at a time when the scenario of the 2010 summer might reoccur. Indeed, these agricultural powers are used to implement unilateral measures to protect their markets. Still, the threat of a ban will only trigger panic reactions, when prices are threatening to turn around and when the hyper-volatility of prices, worsened by temporary factors, are destabilizing global balance.

This new episode is once again a reminder of the urgent need to implement public regulatory policies that are coordinated at the international level, the sine qua non condition to stabilize agricultural markets.
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Paris, 18 December 2018