Kazakhstan lowers grain export forecast this season on harvest

ASTANA. April 18. KAZINFORM  Kazakhstan lowered its grain export forecast for this season because of a lack of rail cars, according to the Agriculture Ministry.

"We plan to export around 11 million to 12 million metric tons this marketing year," Anna Buts, head of the farming department at the Agriculture Ministry, told reporters today in Astana, the capital. "We haven't reached the average monthly export target of 1.2 million tons in the past few months because of a lack of rail cars."

Kazakhstan has exported 8.4 million tons, including 5.6 million tons of grain and 2.8 million tons of flour in grain equivalent weight from the start of the season on July 1 to April 1, Buts said, Bloomberg reports.  

Most exports were sent within Central Asia and to Iran , with almost 90,000 tons carried to China , she said.

Kazakhstan may export 13 million tons this season, Grain Union President Nurlan Tleubayev said on April 2. The country has the potential to ship 15 million tons abroad, according to the Agriculture Ministry.

The Central Asian nation has less than half the 10,500 rail cars needed for grain exports, with only 4,500 of the country's 5,200 wagons in "working condition," the ministry said on Jan. 24.

The grain harvest may slump by more than 50 percent this year to 13 million tons to 15 million tons, Deputy Agriculture Minister Muslim Umiryayev said Feb. 21. Last year's crop reached a record 26.9 million tons, according to the State Statistics Agency.

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