Kazakhstan farmers call for state of emergency
Photo courtesy of megapolis.kz
Kazakhstan farmers have sent a letter to the government and President Nursultan Nazarbayev asking to declare the state of emergency in several regions of the country, the press-service of Kazakhstan Farmers Union (KFU) writes. The letter states that unprecedented drought that covered almost all regions of Kazakhstan turned out to be disastrous not only for plant breeding, but for cattle breeding as well. The grain yielding regions of central-western and northern parts of the country have suffered the most. The agrarians of Aktobe, West-Kazakhstan, Kostanay, Akmola and Karaganda oblasts are in a desperate situation. For example, only 301 thousand hectares out of 580 thousand hectares of grain have been harvested in Aktobe oblast. The situation is similar in West-Kazakhstan oblast. Grain and oilseeds have burnt down at the area of around 1 million hectares in Akmola, Kostanay and Karaganda oblasts. The experts of KFU foresee a financial collapse of many farmers in the said regions. The insurance payments will not save them, as their amount will not be sufficient to pay out all their debts and prepare for the next sowing season. The state support aimed for development of the industrial potential of the farms and for "social support of villagers" is the only way out that the grain farmers see. "Rendering state aide to the victims of bad weather conditions is a worldwide practice," the letter states. The experts also bring up Russia's experience as an example. The "burnt" farmers there get compensated (around $50 per 1 hectare) and the drought-hit lands are written off. "As we are in the Customs Union with Russia, it would been only natural to support Kazakhstan farmers in such a difficult situation, otherwise our producers will lose competition against Russian farmers," the message states. The farmers also asked the President and the government to defer all loan and leasing payments for farmers for one year and also to allocate additional grain from the forage supply fund to cover the needs of Kazakhstan's cattle breeding and poultry farming until the harvest of 2013.