Казахстан, Узбекистан, Азербайджан, Грузия


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Last updated: 2023, October 12


Agriculture of Kazakhstan



Alğa Qazaqstan!!!






 Dr. Oleksii Orlov





Tselinogradsky district of Akmola region. Photo © CLAAS 

Agriculture is one of the most promising sectors of the economy of Kazakhstan, as the demand for quality food in Kazakhstan significantly exceeds their supply. In recent years, this industry has been actively developing, so we will consider in this article the features and prospects of agriculture and the processing industry in Kazakhstan




Kazakhstan has a fantastic potential for agricultural development! In the photo - endless fields in Kazakhstan. Modern technologies make it possible to obtain high yields on those fields that have never been cultivated before!



Business consulting and project management services for agriculture and industry in Kazakhstan



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Kazakhstan has a developed agriculture and is a major exporter of grain and other agricultural products. This is one of the few countries in the world with a high potential for grain exports!



A brief History of the Agriculture Development in Kazakhstann

The communists and the Soviet Union caused very heavy damage to the agriculture of Kazakhstan.

Agricultural land in Kazakhstan was depleted during the "great development of virgin lands" in Soviet times. In fact, there was no development, in fact it was only propaganda!


The plowing of the Kazakh steppes during the "development of virgin lands" led to dust storms and the destruction of the fertile layer in the fields of those that were plowed


Also, Kazakhstan lost a lot of fertile steppe lands due to nuclear tests at the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site. Millions of hectares were contaminated with radiation due to the drift of radioactive dust.

The consequences of those dark times, Kazakhstan feels today.

But despite this, nature is being cleansed and restored, and Kazakhstan's agriculture is actively developing now!



We can do an agronomic audit and find out the factors that reduce yields in your conditions! As well as provide recommendations to improve profitability and efficiency!

Photo by Phil Hearing on Unsplash


Photo © Dr. Oleksii Orlov

Our services allow not only to get high additional profit, but also to increase the efficiency of the entire business. The first step to successfully managing of an agricultural business is a technical audit!


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What kind of agriculture is in Kazakhstan? Description of agriculture in Kazakhstan

Thanks to the use of modern machines and technologies, now Kazakhstan has significantly increased agricultural production since the restoration of its independence! In the photo - modern equipment in the Kargalinsky district of the Aktobe region


The export of agricultural products since the restoration of Kazakhstan's independence has increased significantly and, according to some sources, is, depending on the year, 3-5 billion dollars!

But despite this, there is still a very significant potential for growth in production and profitability of the agrarian sector in Kazakhstan!



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The agricultural sector of the economy in Kazakhstan is growing rapidly, but despite this, the share of agriculture in Kazakhstan's GDP is, according to various estimates, from 4.7 to 8% of GDP. Grain is one of the main export products of Kazakhstan.


Map of agricultural land in Kazakhstan. The total area of Kazakhstan is 2,725,000 km². According to the most optimistic estimates, agricultural land makes up 846,000 km², or only 26% of the country's total area. Of these, about 230,000 km² are sown! Thus, the sown area is only 8.4% of the total area of Kazakhstan. And only a very small percentage of these lands are used effectively and give a good profit!



Most of the land (70-95%) in Kazakhstan is under the cultivation of various crops and grazing.

Compared to other agricultural countries, in Kazakhstan only a very small percentage of the land is used for agriculture, especially this percentage is higher in the north of the country.

About 70% of agricultural lands in Kazakhstan are uncultivated - these are "wild" pastures.


Video World of NAN

Agriculture is one of the developed sectors of the economy of Kazakhstan



The agricultural sector of Kazakhstan produced in 2018:

  • wheat 13.9 million tons (14th place in the world by size of production)

  • barley 3.9 million tons (11th largest producer in the world)

  • potatoes 3.8 million tons (20th place in the world)

  • watermelons 1.2 million tons (12th producer in the world)

  • oil flax seeds 933 thousand tons (Kazakhstan is the largest producer of oil flax in the world)

  • melons 893 thousand tons (5th producer in the world)

  • corn 862 thousand tons

  • sunflower seeds 847 thousand tons (13th place in the world)

  • onion 813 thousand tons

  • tomatoes 765 thousand tons

  • carrots 566 thousand tons

  • cabbage 546 thousand tons

  • sugar beet 504 thousand tons of , which is used for the production of sugar and ethanol

  • rice 482 thousand tons

Kazakhstan achieved a record grain harvest of 26.9 million tons in 2011, surpassing the previous record of 21 million tons in 2009. In 2022, Kazakhstan produced 23 million tons of grain.

Results of 2022/23 MY - the grain harvest in Kazakhstan reached a record level for the decade of 23 million tons (+27% compared to 2021/22 MY), while the wheat harvest increased by 30%. This is reported by the Ministry of Agriculture of Kazakhstan.


Export of the agro-industrial complex of Kazakhstan in numbers

At the end of 2021, the volume of exports of agricultural products from Kazakhstan increased by 14.8% and amounted to $3.8 billion (in 2020 - $3.3 billion).


Photo Aktau Sea Port

Export grain terminal on the Caspian Sea, in the port of Aktau

In the structure of exports of agricultural products from Kazakhstan are traditionally dominated by:

- food and fodder wheat, as well as mixtures of cereals - 5.7 million tons for $1,425 million (37.5% of total exports)

- barley - 0.8 million tons for $165 million (4%)

- oil flax seeds - 333.6 thousand tons for 226.6 million dollars (6%)

- wheat flour - 1.5 million tons for 441 million dollars (12%)

- sunflower oil - 97 thousand tons for 116.7 million dollars (3%)

- cotton - 63 thousand tons for 123.6 million dollars (3%).


Kazakhstan annually exports 6-9 million tons of grain and flour. Through the use of modern technology and consulting, production and export can be increased by 4-5 times!

Trends in exports of agricultural products from Kazakhstan:

- growth in exports of grain crops

- growth in exports of oil flax seeds and sunflower seeds

- growth in exports of processed products (pasta, linseed and sunflower oil)

- creation of new capacities for export and logistics

- replacement of sales markets from the Russian Federation to China and other countries of the World

In 2023, Kazakhstan's trade with China significantly exceeded trade with the Russian Federation - and this trend is significantly increasing due to a significant increase in the risks of trade with the Russian Federation.

The same is happening with the export of agricultural products from Kazakhstan - many traders are reorienting from local markets to global food markets.



The climate of Kazakhstan and agriculture. Agro-climatic zones of Kazakhstan

Nature determines what can be grown in Kazakhstan.

In Kazakhstan, the sharply continental climate it is a zone of cold and dry climate.

Video Marat Sadykov

These are dry and cold steppes (BSk). This area is favorable for the development of agriculture



Video LifeChannel

Huge areas in Kazakhstan are arid cold deserts (BWk) suitable only for light grazing. There is also a small transition zone between deserts and the steppe - semi-deserts



Video Wonders of Nature

Kazakhstan is a country of very beautiful nature and clean air, it is an ideal place to find your spirit and communicate with pure nature. Kazakhstan is one of the most beautiful countries in the World because of its amazingly beautiful lakes and mountains, steppes and deserts, rivers and high hills. Kazakhstan ranks ninth in terms of territory in the world. However, most of the land remains untouched...

Photo © Dr. Oleksii Orlov

In winter, very cold and dry air from Siberia often comes in. Therefore, Kazakhstan has very severe winters, and the temperature in winter sometimes drops below -45°C! During this winter strong wind blow and blown off snow from the fields. Under such conditions, winter crops cannot overwinter. In the photo - fields in winter in the Maisky district, Pavlodar region


Tselinogradsky district of Akmola region. Photo © CLAAS

A lot of snow often falls in Kazakhstan in winter


Photo © Dr. Oleksii Orlov

Summer in Kazakhstan is very hot and dry and very windy. Therefore, the main factor limiting the yield of spring crops is the lack of moisture. There is often a very hot and dry wind. The climate of Kazakhstan is getting drier and hotter! In the photo - the death of sunflower crops due to drought


In spring, the steppe in Kazakhstan blooms, this is the season when there is enough moisture! But this period is very short! And the doges may not be until autumn


Map of natural zones of Kazakhstan (according to UNDP). Natural conditions determine agricultural production in Kazakhstan. Classical agriculture is concentrated in the steppe zone and foothill areas, as well as in the floodplains of the rivers of Kazakhstan



Map of the agro-climatic regions of Kazakhstan (according to the Ministry of Agriculture of Kazakhstan)

BSk - arid cold climate, steppe

Dfb - cold climate, no dry seasons, warm summers

BWk – arid cold desert


Source: "Present and future Köppen-Geiger climate classification maps at 1-km resolution". Nature Scientific Data. DOI:10.1038/sdata.2018.214

Author: Beck, H.E., Zimmermann, N. E., McVicar, T. R., Vergopolan, N., Berg, A., & Wood, E. F.

Climate of Kazakhstan (according to modern international classification). Climate map of Kazakhstan. Most of Kazakhstan's agriculture is located in the BSk (cold steppe) zone. The amount of precipitation is about 250-300 mm per year, the largest amount of which falls in the winter. During the growing season, about 100 mm of precipitation falls. The average temperature for the year is less than 18°С

Precipitation in Semey. In Semey, the dry period occurs in January, February, March, April, May, August, September, October and December. On average, July is the wettest month with 32.0 mm of precipitation. On average, January is the driest month with 14.0 mm of precipitation. The average annual rainfall is: 264.0 mm. The amount of precipitation during the growing season (April - August) 100-130 mm

Precipitation in Astana. In Astana, the dry period occurs in January, February, March, April, May, August, September, October and December. On average, July is the wettest month with 64.9 mm of precipitation. On average, January is the driest month with 13.7 mm of precipitation. The average annual rainfall is: 356.3 mm. Precipitation during the growing season (April-August) 194.9 mm


The climate in Kazakhstan is favorable for growing only certain crops.

Thus, the main factor limiting the yield in Kazakhstan is the lack of moisture!


In Kazakhstan, there are certain natural factors that limit agricultural production:

  • very dry climate

  • cold winter

  • lack of soil fertility, rapid drying of the soil, the need for irrigation

  • frosts occur in late spring and early autumn


In general, the climate in Kazakhstan is favorable for agriculture!!



Soils of Kazakhstan

Most of the soils suitable for agriculture in Kazakhstan are Mollisiols. And in the desert zone, this is Aridsoils (USDA)



Soil map of Kazakhstan. Soil types in Kazakhstan. Basic soils - Mollisols и Aridisols





Photo © USDA

Soil profile of Mollisiols - soils of dry and cold steppes of Kazakhstan




Photo © USDA

Soil profile of Aridsoils - soils of cold deserts of Kazakhstan




Photo © Dr. Oleksii Orlov

The soil profile in East Kazakhstan is a transitional type between Mollisiols and Aridsoils. Zharma region, soil profile. The soil is clayey and very compacted. The humus layer is about 20 cm. There is no moisture at a depth of more than 20-23 cm. Below is clay interspersed with salt, sand and small stones


Photo © Dr. Oleksii Orlov

Soil profile in Northern Kazakhstan. Maisky district. The cut to a depth of 120 cm. The soil is sandy with an admixture of clay and strongly compacted. The humus layer is about 20 cm. Below is a mixture of sand and clay interspersed with salts, sand and small stones


Photo © Dr. Oleksii Orlov

Soil sampling in Kazakhstan - preparation of soil sections and soil sampling in Zharma region


According to the old classification, in Kazakhstan there are such soils (which vary from the forest-steppe zone to the desert zone):

  • Chernozem ordinary

  • Southern chernozem, low humus

  • Dark chestnut soil

  • Light chestnut soil

  • Brown desert soils

  • Gray-brown desert soils


Now, like all other countries of the world, Kazakhstan uses the modern soil classification (USDA).

Thus, according to the modern international classification (USDA), there are two main types of soils in Kazakhstan:

  • Mollisiols

  • Aridsoils

There are also many transitional types between these two soils.


Most of the soils in Kazakhstan are subject to severe wind erosion, highly compacted due to livestock grazing.

Also, almost all soils in Kazakhstan are alkaline and saline with sulfates



Soil salinization in Kazakhstan 

Picture source: FAO

According to the FAO, soil salinization of agricultural lands is very common throughout the world: in Kazakhstan - 140 million hectares of saline soils. Most soils in Kazakhstan are saline



Picture source: FAO

Most saline soils are sulfate soils




Acidity and alkalinity of soils in Kazakhstan


It is the pH level of the soil that determines whether soils are acidic or alkaline. Most soils in Kazakhstan have pH levels above neutral (pH 7.0) - to alkaline (pH > 7.0).

Most soils in Kazakhstan are alkaline.

Soil pH affects the availability of nutrients, especially phosphorus, trace elements and the biological activity of the soil.

The pH level of the soil is determined by the source material of the soil, the type of vegetation, climatic features (especially the amount of precipitation) and the age of the soils





Map of soil acidity in Europe and Kazakhstan. Brown - acidic soils. Blue - alkaline. This map shows that most soils in Kazakhstan are alkaline (Source: T. Hengl, A Practical Guide to Geostatistical Mapping)



The amount of precipitation in Kazakhstan

Precipitation map of Kazakhstan. In the steppe zone (most of Kazakhstan) - the amount of precipitation is about 250-300 mm per year, the largest amount of which will fall in the winter. During the growing season, about 100 mm of precipitation falls. For example, the amount of precipitation in the Maisky district is about 250-300 mm per year, with a tendency to reduce the annual amount of precipitation! In Zharma district - up to 300-350 mm per year (not in all years)


What branches of agriculture are developed in Kazakhstan?

  • Animal husbandry (horses, cows, sheep)

  • Crop and feed production

  • Poultry farming (chicken, eggs)


What is grown in Kazakhstan?

The most important agricultural crop in Kazakhstan is spring wheat, which is the main agricultural export product. In the photo - a field with spring wheat in the Kargalinsky district of the Aktobe region. Wheat grain production has tripled - from 6-7 million tons in the 90s and up to 16-17 million tons in 2022! And now Kazakhstan is a major producer and exporter of grain!


Natural conditions make it possible to grow in Kazakhstan mainly spring wheat, including hard wheat (durum), which is more valuable and is in very high demand on the international market. Kazakhstan is one of the few countries with an optimal climate for this crop


Winter wheat is practically not grown in Kazakhstan, since most often it freezes in winter. But a small number of fields in Southern Kazakhstan, in the foothills and in Northern Kazakhstan are still suitable for growing winter wheat. Although the risks of freezing every 3-5 years are very significant!

There is a lot of speculation about the successful cultivation of winter wheat in Kazakhstan. But the fact remains that it is possible to get good harvests of this crop only in the southern regions of Kazakhstan, on the border with Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and in the foothills, where the climate is milder


Video Work Hard

Kazakhstan is one of the world's leading exporters of wheat. And the yield of this crop is growing! On the video - wheat harvesting in East Kazakhstan


The most popular agricultural crops in Kazakhstan are:

  • spring wheat

  • sunflower

  • spring barley



Photo Turar Kazangapov © TENGRINEWS

Sunflower fields in eastern Kazakhstan, near Oksemen. Sunflower is now one of the main crops in Kazakhstan



Video Andrey Chshetinin

Sunflower is a profitable crop for Kazakhstan, as sunflower is one of the most drought-resistant and cold-resistant crops suitable for a sharply continental climate



Photo © Dr. Oleksii Orlov

Spring barley is an important crop for Kazakhstan


Smaller areas are occupied in Kazakhstan under: cotton, sugar beet, oil flax, rice, safflower, camelina, fodder lupine, alfalfa, chickpeas, rapeseed, etc.

Oilseeds are widely grown in Kazakhstan - sunflower, safflower, camelina, oilseed flax and spring rapeseed. These crops are well combined in crop rotation with wheat and barley. Therefore, the areas under these crops are expanding.

Kazakhstan ranks first in the world in the cultivation and production of oilseed safflower! On average, 170-180 thousand tons are produced annually in Kazakhstan. oilseeds of safflower. In the photo - a field with oilseed safflower in the Kargaly district of the Aktobe region


Photo © Dr. Oleksii Orlov

Kazakhstan ranks first in the world in the production of oil flax seeds! Every year Kazakhstan produces about 1.1 million tons of oilseeds and competes with Canada for the first place. But Kazakhstan has more significant potential in the production of this crop


Areas under cotton and sugar beets are gradually decreasing in Kazakhstan.

From vegetable crops in Kazakhstan carrots, onions, potatoes, cabbage, as well as a small amount of other vegetables are grown.

Tomatoes, cucumbers, greens vegetables and strawberries are grown in greenhouses in Kazakhstan.

From horticultural crops in Kazakhstan, apple orchards and some plum orchards are grown. The best regions for growing apples are the foothills and southern regions of Kazakhstan.

Technical hemp is grown from industrial crops in Kazakhstan.

From gourds in Kazakhstan produce - watermelon, melon, zucchini, pumpkin.
Of the legumes in Kazakhstan, they grow peas, beans, lupins and soybeans.



Sowing beans on drip irrigation in Kazakhstan. Italian varieties of beans were used



Grapes are grown in Kazakhstan. Kazakh grapes are produced in the mountains east of Almaty.

Forage crops in Kazakhstan are grown - forage grasses and alfalfa.



Livestock in Kazakhstan


Photo © Dr. Oleksii Orlov

Pasture animal husbandry is very developed in Kazakhstan - there are a lot of cows. In the photo - grazing cows in the Maisky district, Pavlodar region


Tselinogradsky district of Akmola region. Photo © CLAAS

There are good farms in Kazakhstan where they keep dairy cows


К The agricultural animals raised in Kazakhstan include cattle (beef and dairy cows), horses, sheep and goats, camels, and a small number of pigs.

In Kazakhstan, lamb, horse meat and beef are the most produced.

Camels, goats and sheep are kept in the desert and semi-desert zones of Kazakhstan.

Sheep graze in the foothills and mountainous regions of Kazakhstan.
Poultry farming is also developed in Kazakhstan - they produce chicken and eggs.




Photo © Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Kazakhstan

Poultry farming is actively developing in Kazakhstan. In the photo - a modern poultry farm in the Akkayyn district of the North Kazakhstan region

Photo © МТСН РК

Sheep grazing in the semi-desert of Kazakhstan. In some years, there is not enough feed and the livestock is greatly reduced


There are a lot of deserts in Kazakhstan. In such conditions it is possible to keep camels. In the photo - camels at the bottom of the dried-up Aral Sea. Photo Luiz Paulo


Wool, cow's milk and eggs are other major livestock and poultry products in Kazakhstan.


Kazakhstan ranks first in the world in the production of horsemeat! According to FAO, 2020



What are the promising areas for the development of agriculture and industry in Kazakhstan?


Photo © Dr. Oleksii Orlov

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Photo © Dr. Oleksii Orlov

Modern irrigation system in Kazakhstan. Modern irrigation allows to make a profit even on those fields that have never seen a crop before. Maisky district, Pavlodar region


Photo © Dr. Oleksii Orlov

To improve the efficiency of animal husbandry, it is important to produce high-quality feed. In the photo - alfalfa production under irrigation in Kazakhstan. Maisky district, Pavlodar region




Success stories. Completed projects of Agricultural Consulting Service


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Source of photo: Fendt




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