The natural conditions of the East Kazakhstan region make it an ideal region for growing sunflower - the most popular and expensive oilseed today. Yields here are higher than the average for the country, which allows farmers in East Kazakhstan region to produce 70% of Kazakhstan's "seeds", sowing only 30% of the total sown area of this crop in the country.
In the Experimental Oilseed Farm (OHMK), located near Ust-Kamenogorsk, the current sowing campaign was carried out successfully - the weather was favorable for farmers, despite some coolness. The farm operates a twelve-field crop rotation, that is, there are a lot of crops, including oilseeds - rapeseed, soybeans, sunflower.
- Since we specialize in the production of seeds, sunflower occupies 10% of the area in our crop rotation - this is 700 hectares, - said Farid Abitaev (pictured), General Director of OKHMK. - We also placed about the same amount of sunflower seeds with partner companies in other regions. Soybeans and rapeseed - 600 ha each.
Corn, alfalfa, wheat, malting barley, and buckwheat are also sown here. Winter crops are represented by rapeseed, wheat and peas. Thus, OHMU has a very good diversification, which ensures the stability of the enterprise in any market situation.
Winter crop will be good
- This year, the spring sowing started in April, and on May 18-19 we have already finished it, - Farid Abitaev commented. - Corn and buckwheat were sown later, within the recommended agrotechnical terms, because they are afraid of return frosts. Just weeded out - it rained, and on June 1 there was a very good downpour, as ordered. And before that, in the middle of the sowing season, the rain stopped us twice, but in general it was needed, so the seedlings turned out to be friendly, and there are already good prospects for the harvest. Rains and downpours had a very good effect on winter crops. According to forecasts, 40-50 mm of precipitation should fall in a week, this is an excellent indicator. We hope that winter crops will be good this year, and at least our region will feel very well. The spring start is also not bad, we need to look further, the June and July rains should help. I think the harvest as a whole will be quite good, higher than the last two years.
70% of the crop on 30% of the area
Eastern Kazakhstan is often called the sunflower land, sow "seed" here in sufficient quantities, and the yield is 3-4 tons per hectare. OHMK has already learned how to work with sunflower well, and modern hybrids allow you to get high yields on the lands of the East Kazakhstan region.
- This can be seen from the statistics, - explained Farid Abitaev. - 30% of all areas of Kazakhstan are sown with sunflower, and we give 70% of Kazakhstan's harvest. The average yield is very high. In some places, farms take 3-4 tons per hectare, while the average yield is about 2 tons per hectare.
Since sunflower is a drought-resistant crop, it has performed well in the last two dry years and, in general, pulled out the economy of local farms. Therefore, in the crop rotation of many farms in East Kazakhstan region, it occupies 30-50%.
- Sunflower forms a good economy for our farmers, - said Farid Abitaev. - Regarding today's world prices, 70% of sunflower production is Ukraine and Russia. Ukraine, I think, did not manage to weed out completely, and there will be problems with shipment now. Therefore, it can be assumed that there will not be a large harvest this year. The price situation should be very good, the only question is whether we can export it, because we have transit through the Russian Federation, and our native government likes to introduce some kind of export bans and restrictions. Although it is wrong to interfere in market relations, the state is doing this in our country. Therefore, it must be assumed that even with a high harvest, high prices may not develop precisely because of the prohibitions that our government can suddenly bring down on the peasants from above.
Quota instead of export
The General Director of OHMK believes that in many cases the ideal alternative to bans would be quotas, as they did with wheat.
- We set a quota, and 10% of exports are sold to the Food Corporation to stabilize the price of flour and bread, - Farid Abitaev explained. - This would also be true for oilseeds. This will be enough to stabilize prices at today's level, exporters, it seems to me, will be happy to sell 10% to the stabilization fund at some preferential price, to stabilize the domestic consumer market. But in general, there is no need to restrict exports, since we are losing foreign markets, and logistical problems may still arise in connection with Russia. We must not lose the markets of Central Asia. In terms of logistics, Russia can go to the Central Asian markets this year and break the price there.
The situation concerns not only sunflower and other oilseeds, but also grain crops. Russia promises record harvests - 130 million tons of grain to harvest, 50 million tons to export. Experts believe that these are not empty words, since the harvest in the southern part of Russia (Stavropol, Krasnodar) promises to be very good.
- There was enough rainfall, most likely, everything will work out, the sunflower harvest in Russia will be good, - Farid Abitaev predicted. - Against the backdrop of the rush demand for sunflower oil, I think that most of the areas were sown with a good eye for export. However, in the Russian Federation, the state also actively intervenes in these issues, therefore, as always, the peasants will not receive what their hard work deserves.
The head of the OHMK is sure that export restrictions do not bring anything good, they only continue to keep the peasants in a “black body”.
- Due to all these restrictions, we are constantly receiving less money in accordance with the actual market conditions, - Farid Abitaev stated. - They explain that the world price has risen, that Russia sells like this, that fuels and lubricants are expensive, but we don’t see any relief in food products. Peasants are getting poorer every year, because costs are growing, prices are being kept from above, so our economy is getting worse and worse.
How to give a good salary and high performance
In addition, all farmers have to increase the wages of their employees every year, since there is little attractiveness in the agricultural business. The social sphere in the villages, as a rule, is underdeveloped, health care and education are also at a low level, there are many social and everyday problems. Often the only argument a farmer has to keep a good worker is a high salary.
- In order to pay a good salary, we need to earn more, switch to more productive equipment, - Farid Abitaev outlined the problem. - Working on old DTshkakh, with all the desire, you won’t be able to pay decently, because the economy will not work out. At the same time, buying equipment is also a problem, either the salvage tax is brought down from above, or the VAT exemption is canceled. Updating equipment every year is more and more expensive. Domestic assembly equipment is also becoming more expensive, besides, it does not have the necessary productivity and means of automation-robotics. After the introduction of sanctions against the Russian Federation, advanced technologies will be completely cut off, and we are offered only Russian and Belarusian equipment. Therefore, I do not expect anything advanced, I think that there will even be a rollback, a decrease in labor productivity and the comfort of the machine operator, but the price is still growing. Therefore, I believe that all these measures should be canceled and our agriculture should breathe freely. So that we can choose the most modern equipment, show high productivity, and pay good salaries to machine operators. We have not fallen into the sanctions bag, so we can do this and help the domestic agricultural machinery industry. By the way, all Western companies are present in Kazakhstan and, I think, they will be ready to place their production here, since we are not under sanctions, there is a unique opportunity to enter and produce equipment.