Agriculture Publication Date 11-10-2020

Bisetaev Kairat Serikbaevich

Chairman of the CLEIP "Union of Potato and Vegetable Growers of Kazakhstan"

Our union includes agricultural producers who are engaged in the cultivation of potatoes and vegetables for irrigation. Our farms are mainly represented in the north of Kazakhstan and are large agricultural producers. The level of development of the industry at the moment in Kazakhstan leaves much to be desired.

There is a global market and there is a local market.

The local market is the countries of the former Soviet Union plus the east, which includes

  • Iran,
  • Pakistan,
  • Afghanistan,
  • India,
  • China.

And in this local market, unfortunately, we are losing our once high positions. In the 2000s, in the post-Soviet space, we looked quite favorably against the background of Russian agriculture, Belarusian, Ukrainian.

All problems are subjective, because all objective ones also affect other countries. State policy in the field of agriculture, which does not achieve its goals, the financial system of Kazakhstan, in which banks are in a permanent difficult condition, and they can not qualitatively finance the economy in general, and in agriculture in particular. If in the zero years the banking system in Kazakhstan was one of the leading in the post-Soviet space, and banks worked very actively.

Agriculture at this time was one of the promising areas where they were actively investing. But then, after the crises of 2008-2012, the state of the banks was shaken and therefore they were forced to finance industries where there are much less risks and the turnover of funds is fast.

Agriculture, after all, has more seasonal specifics, the risks are very high, and we receive products on average once a year.

It is quite understandable that the little money that our banks now have is invested in completely different sectors, and not in agriculture. Therefore, our industry is experiencing a colossal shortage of money.

Agriculture today cannot be considered separately from processing. The future of agriculture in Kazakhstan mainly depends on two things. These are working capital, which we sorely lack in any area of ​​agriculture and the economy of Kazakhstan in general. The second point is the processing of agricultural products.

We produce much more than the domestic market requires. In order to further develop agriculture, we, of course, can further increase the area under crops, but we are not doing this, since we are facing a sales problem, we are constrained by exports, and the export of raw materials is quite difficult. Therefore, if there is no processing, we will have nowhere to grow. We are required to grow, but he rested on processing. And it is no longer needed for the domestic market, but for export.

In the era of globalization, all processed agricultural products are in the hands of large multinational companies that have huge production facilities in different countries.

Today, mini processing at small enterprises has sunk into oblivion. Therefore, today we do not need to invent a bicycle and make mistakes for recycling.

We need our market to become attractive for large players in processing, and they are more likely to are owned by multinational companies, so we can go through these giants to other markets.

If this can be done, then our agriculture will develop without government money, without various subsidies, simply due to the fact that we will work to meet the demand of these world giants in the processing market. Moreover, the demand of these enterprises will spur the growth of the quality of our products. For example, now we sell potatoes and it is important that it is large, and processing plants will require high-quality potatoes with their own characteristics, this is how, working for global customers, our competence will grow.

To attract large converters, we have several trump cards, such as stability in the country, something that is not, for example, in Ukraine, in Russia. Plus the huge potential of land resources, good potential of water resources. This is what can really attract multinational companies.

Scarcity and turnover is another major problem we face.

If we say that there are problems with personnel in the city, then in the village it is aggravated, tripled by the fact that a young, more or less good guy who knows how to work on a computer, works well with equipment, a good teacher, he does not want stay in the village.

Our farm now hires everyone who wants to work, but few are willing. At our faculties in cities, you can see the following trend: there are more girls than boys. The girls understand that they will not enter on a competitive basis for economic, legal, or some more prestigious specialties, and come to us. They finish their studies, stay and work in agricultural laboratories or in numerous other organizations around agriculture, and there they settle.

Today, employers in the agricultural sector are completely turned towards young personnel, life now forces to hire anyone. They hire two or three, hoping that at least one will stay. Working in agriculture has its own specifics, which conflicts with the habits of a generation.

The current generation does not want to obey any regime, they do not want routine, they need freedom, they want to work creatively in the hope of getting some kind of momentary income.

And it works well in the IT field, in the field of marketing and in other related areas, and agriculture requires a strict technological regime, discipline, you have to get up early, do something every day, you cannot be distracted, leave, a working day can be 10-12 hours a day. And today's youth are not very accustomed to this.

In our time, there was some kind of romance in the routine, we liked to get up before dawn, where you shine in the dark with the light from the combine and work until dark. As for new technologies, many of our farms are solving digitalization issues.

We are now all working through an electronic map of our fields , where their borders, coordinates are clearly indicated, where we must enter the history of the fields. In addition, many now use GPS, that is, tractors work by themselves, there the error of its operation is only 2-3 centimeters. Tractor drivers are retrained by the specialists who install this equipment, everything is not so complicated there. Also, most of our fields are irrigated with modern equipment, where applications are installed on the phone and a person can watch in the system how the field is watered. It's the same with climate control in our potato storage. This is equipment that monitors and regulates storage conditions through the application directly from the phone.

This is no longer a curiosity for us. Of course, now even half of all agricultural enterprises do not use this yet, but quite a few guys are already using it. And the further you go, the better you understand that we need people who understand technology, but these personnel must live in the countryside, it's not a matter of coming from the city.

We are ready to pay good salaries in the countryside. Today a good rural agronomist can receive from 250 to 600 thousand tenge a month, but people still leave, because in addition to a salary, a person also needs conditions.

Here, for example, is a responsible and experienced specialist, he is 3235 years old, his son or daughter is 7-8 years old, of course, he wants his children to receive a good education, learn languages, and now this is absent in many villages, and his wife wants to shop in a mall, not a general store. These are all the problems of arranging life in rural areas, and not just the issue of wages. We have individual specialists who come from the city, set up all the programs, and leave. But again, these are the villages that are close to the city.

In the end, I want to say that good living conditions in the countryside are needed, and the other tasks of an agricultural enterprise are ready to solve.

Our industry is quite paradoxical, it seems to be located in an aul, where there is a lot of manual labor, poor conditions, you need to work 12 hours a day during the season, but at the same time, new technologies are very good for us, agriculture is very promising for the development of technologies.

Therefore, if the state takes up the development of our villages, then everything else will be decided.