Agro-technologies given thumbs up in Kazakhstan12 july 2014, 11:51
President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev has stressed the importance of integrating modern technologies into the country’s agriculture, Tengrinews reports citing IA Novosti-Kazakhstan.
During his working visit to Almaty Oblast in central Kazakhstan on July 11, Nazarbayev said: "Food production is becoming a major factor in the development of our country. The world population will reach 9 billion people by 2050, which will require doubling the production of agricultural products. Kazakhstan has all the prerequisites, including vast areas of land, to fill this niche. At the same time, agriculture cannot develop further without the introduction of new technologies. We need to use the power of science in full – only then, we are to achieve progress in the agricultural sector."
One of the areas of the new technologies that has been pushed for in the recent months in Kazakhstan - a country the size of Western Europe - is genetic modification. In his most recent State-of-the-Nation Address Nazarbayev particularly stressed the necessity to adopt GMO technology in Kazakhstan: “It is important to keep up with the pace of time, and along with production of natural food, develop drought-resistent, genetically modified crops. Given the designated tasks, I task the Government with adjusting the agriculture development plans.”
A month after the Address, the Ministry of Agriculture showed its readiness to start introducing GM technologies in Kazakhstan. "If genetically modified crops enter Kazakhstan, the structure of its agriculture will undergo dramatic changes. Less feasible natural varieties will be pushed to the sidelines and subsequently disappear," the Ministry said.
Kazakhstan's scientists have already succeeded in breeding new varieties of drought-resistant high-protein spring wheat, a hybrid cold-resistant corn and a new type of rice specifically designed to grow on highly salinized soil.
During yesterday's visit, Nazarbayev inspected the work of Bayserke-Agro, an education and R&D center of the Kazakh National Agricultural University. New varieties of crops developed by the center were introduced to the president. In addition, he was shown novel types of pesticides, bio-fertilizers and veterinary drugs developed by Kazakhstani scientists at Bayserke-Agro. Modernized machinery and livestock facilities were also exhibited.
Industrial enterprise "Bayserke-Agro" LLP specializes in agriculture, stock breeding, meat and milk processing and introducing modern technologies into cultivation. The enterprise also hosts a scientific and industrial training center, which includes two veterinary pathology-anatomy labs and laboratories for livestock feed analysis and agricultural chemistry.
The draft law to regulate GM-related activities in Kazakhstan is already in development. The law should introduce mechanisms of licensing and registering GM activities, classifying risks, regulating export and import of such products and specifying requirements for genetic engineering in Kazakhstan.
Once the law is in place it will become clear which role Kazakhstan is going to play in the global food dominance race.
By Dinara Urazova