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Fruit & vegetables in Kazakhstan: a billion dollar sector

Kazakhstan’s fruit and vegetable market is already worth in excess of a billion dollars. Some great opportunities for foreign suppliers have emerged in recent years, with a 2014 survey stating 80% of Kazakhstanis preferring imported produce to domestically-grown offerings.

The scope of Kazakhstan’s fruit & vegetables market

You might think Kazakhstan should not have to import such vast quantities of agriproducts annually, given its amazing natural advantages. It is on the cusp of becoming a major food and drink production powerhouse as Kazakhstan continues to develop its food processing sector.
The thing is, Kazakhstan’s ambitious production goals are still some way off towards being met, meaning its supply of both raw and processed produce still comes from overseas.

Imports of fruits and vegetables collectively total over a million tons annually, creating an inbound market worth over $1.5 billion - Kazakhstan’s fruit and veg import sector is only set to grow. Estimates from investment body Kaznex Invest predict the market will be worth in excess of $1.9 billion by 2020.

Kazakhs fruit deficit covered by imports

Kazakhstan faces a domestic fruit production shortage of roughly half a million tons a year – and relies on internationally-sourced goods to plug its sizable market gaps. Data from the Kazakhstan’s State Statics Commission showed 628,000 tons of fruit was imported in 2015, highlighting the demand for foreign varieties from Kazakhstani consumers.

The nation’s buyers are interested in sourcing a wide variety of agriproducts from overseas. See below for a breakdown of the most popular fruit products imported by Kazakhstan in 2015:

•    Grapes – 142,000 tons
•    Apples – 127,000 tons
•    Dried fruit and nut mixes – 86,000 tons
•    Citrus fruits (incl. lemons, limes, and orange varieties) – 82,000 tons
•    Bananas – 47,000 tons

Long term, volumes are likely to rise – as much as 5% year-on-year until the decade’s end. Consumption of fruit amongst Kazakhstan’s 17.9 million population currently stands at 51kg per capita, with total consumption totalling 937,000 tons a year. By 2020, Kazakhs will be eating over 1.1 million tons of fruits, nuts, and associated products, every year.

Vegetables still a hot import sector in Kazakhstan

If there is one nation suited to the cultivation of pretty much every conceivable vegetable variety, it is Kazakhstan. The nation is blessed with almost endless tracts of arable land and home to 9 of world’s 11 climatic zones. Yet domestic production is hampered by an underdeveloped agricultural environment, playing neatly into the hands of exporters worldwide.

520,000 tons of vegetables of international origin were shipped to Kazakhstan in 2015, with the five favourite products being:

•    Onions and garlic – 165,000 tons
•    Carrots, turnips, and beets – 82,000 tons
•    Potatoes – 77,000 tons
•    Cabbages – 69,000 tons
•    Tomatoes – 65,000 tons

Consumption of some key commodities is also scheduled to increase over the coming years. Over 2.2 million tons of potatoes will be eaten by Kazakhs in 2017, but by 2020 this figure could exceed 2.3 million tons. Likewise, tomato consumption could reach a new high of 556,000 tons a year at the turn of the decade – an increase of 3% annually over 2017’s figure of 507,000 tons.

Processed fruits & vegetables: an import goldmine

If you are a Kazakh on the hunt for some delicious fruit juices, vegetable sauces, canned goods, or frozen fruit and vegetables, chances are the products available to you will have been imported. While it does manufacture a number of processed products, Kazakhstan depends on overseas companies to keep its population supplied with processed fruits and vegetables.

Take a look at the production/demand imbalance. Some 19,000 tons of processed fruit and vegetable products are manufactured yearly. Import volumes are more than 11 times higher – reaching 229,000 tons a year.
It’s a trend that is likely to continue too. Kazakhs collectively consume in the region of 238,000 tons of processed produce a year. By 2020, consumption levels are expected to hit 252,000 tons, growing at an annual rate of 2% per annum.

Kazakhstan’s EEU neighbours benefit from fruit & veg trade

Central Asia is dotted with food producing nations – many of which are Kazakhstan’s partners in the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). Recently, two states have made stepping up their Kazakhstan-bound fruit and vegetable shipments a priority: Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijan’s Ambassador to Kazakhstan, Rashad Mammadov, made a pledge to boost the food trade between the two states in October 2016. Trade turnover between Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan amounted to $124.4 million in 2016, with Azerbaijan’s exports accounting for $26 million.
Uzbekistan, however, is not just talking about stepping up its fruit and vegetable exports to Kazakhstan – it is already doing so. In March 2017, a delegation of Uzbekistani businessmen headed to Astana, Kazakhstan’s capital, where fruit and vegetable supply contracts worth almost $1 billion were signed.
Now Uzbekistan is planning on exporting 560,000 tons worth of agriproducts to Kazakhstan in 2017 – almost 100,000 tons higher than the volumes shipped in 2016 (482,000 tons).

So the potential for exporters has been firmly established and is growing year-on-year. All interested parties need is a platform to engage with Kazakhstan’s key importers, distributors and food buyers…

Tap into the market at WorldFood Kazakhstan

WorldFood Kazakhstan is a wide-ranging exhibition covering the length and breadth of Kazakhstan’s food and drink market. It’s become the region’s leading forum for engaging with the sector’s biggest movers and shakers.
This year’s event is held between 1-3 November 2017 in the nation’s capital Almaty.

Interested in learning more about the show? Contact us today to get more information on how you can take part.


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