Sweet lie of ministers turned out to be empty elevators

At the suggestion of the Kazakh Ministry of agriculture, Kazakhstani officials attribute 3-4 million tons of nonexistent grain to the harvest every year. These virtual volumes help them to earn points in the eyes of the President. This year is no exception.

As soon as one bad harvest year occurred in Kazakhstan in 2019, prices for grain, flour and bread jumped. How can this be, given the records of all previous years’ yields, bewildered by ordinary people in Kazakhstan? After all, the country should have a huge amount of grain “in stock”, just in case of drought!

However, the unsightly truth quickly became apparent – the elevators were empty, as well as the ministers’ speeches about crop records.

The scale of the lie, that the country’s agricultural industry under the auspices of the Minister of agriculture of the Republic of Kazakhstan Asylzhan Mamytbekov (2011-2016) is terrifying. We all remember how the Ministry of agriculture cheekily lied about the growth of meat exports – very quickly it turned out that the real statistics has nothing to do with the words of the ideologists of the meat “project”.

At the same time, there was a hope that at least in the grain industry, it gives Kazakhstan a stable volume of export-oriented goods, bringing foreign currency proceeds. This year has shown that even here it is a complete lie, expressed in the additions of tens of millions of tons of grain, allegedly harvested in the fields of the country.

At the same time, the area of grain sowing decreased from 16 million 190.1 thousand hectares in 2008 to 15 million 150 thousand hectares in 2018. Including wheat – from 13 million 476.1 thousand hectares to 11 million 409.8 thousand hectares. This already looks suspicious – it can’t grow when farmers sow wheat year after year, depleting the soil and almost no mineral fertilizer.

Scientists at the Kazakh agricultural university named after S. Seifullin conducted research a couple of years ago and found out that there is a huge lack of all the nutrients needed for grain growth in the arable land. And moreover, in such conditions cannot increase yields!

However, contrary to logic, according to the data of the Ministry of agriculture of the Republic of Kazakhstan, submitted to the Committee on statistics, the gross output of cereals in Kazakhstan has been steadily growing in recent years – from 15 million 578.2 thousand tons in 2008 to 20 million 273.7 thousand tons in 2018. Including wheat – from 12 million 538.2 thousand tons to 13 million 944.1 thousand tons.

In some years, the harvest was even higher, according to statistics. Interestingly, the peak occurred in 2011. This the year when Asylzhan Mamytbekov took the chair of the agriculture minister and wanted to prove himself before the President of Kazakhstan not as a cabinet member but as a strong manager. So, statistics reports that in 2011 the country collected 26 million 960.5 thousand tons of grain. That is, almost 27 million! Including 22 million 732.1 thousand tons of wheat. What a result! A year earlier, under Ahylbek Kurishbaev, Mamytbekov’s predecessor in the post of minister, the harvest was modest at 12,185.2 thousand tons of grain (9,638.4 thousand tons of wheat). The growth of Mamytbekov’s authority has more than doubled, for sure.

And now let’s look into the reasons why this “record” was set. And whether, he was at all.

According to the Ministry of agriculture, the grain crop for 10 years, from 2008 to 2018:

15 million 578.2 thousand (2008) + 20 million 830.5 thousand (2009) + 12 million 185.2 thousand (2010) + 26 million 960.5 thousand (2011) + 12 million 864.8 thousand (2012) + 18 million 231.1 thousand (2013)) + 17 million 162.2 thousand (2014) + 18 million 672.8 thousand (2015) + 20 million 634.4 thousand (2016) + 20 million 585.1 thousand (2017) + 20 million 273.7 thousand (2018) = 203 million 343.5 thousand (2013).

The website of the Ministry of agriculture itself has statistics on the export of grain and flour over the past 10 years, compiled on the basis of ” Kazakhstan Temir Zholy” data. According to it, the average grain export indicator for the decade was 5 million 109.5 thousand tons of grain. For 10 years this figure has been about 51 million tons. Therefore, we take away from the received shaft figures 51 million tons that have been officially exported over the last ten years. So, we get 152 million tons.

As for other uses, it was recently reported by the current Minister of agriculture, Saparkhan Omarov answering journalists’ questions:

«Our domestic consumption is 5.9 million tons, we spend about 2 million tons on seeds, 1 million tons on forage and the rest on exports», he said.

“KazakhZerno” asked the Ministry of national economy (which is subordinate to the Committee on statistics). They also received the “Resource balance and grain utilization” for 2018. The document confirms the minister’s words:

Thus, we take away 69 million tons from the previously received 152 million tons (internal consumption and forage). Another minus 20 million, are seeds for 10 years (2 million tons per year). We will not forget to deduct the export of flour – 1 million 887.4 thousand tons per season. That is 19 million tons in ten years.

We’ll get a huge number of 44 million tons! Even if we take away from this figure the possible losses for 10 years in the amount of 4 million tons, the figure will remain huge – 40 million tons.

This is, allegedly, the harvested grain, which Kazakhstan did not sell for export and did not use itself. Ideally, it’s a carry-over.

But according to the Ministry of Agriculture itself, as of July 1, 2019 (the beginning of a new marketing year in which the 2019 harvest is not yet accounted for – KazakhZerno.kz), the country had only about 4 million tons of grain…

The question arises – where are the other 36 million tons, allegedly accumulated by the country in all previous years?

 The answer to this seemingly difficult question is, in fact, very simple and known to every agrarian – postscript. It was Asylzhan Mamytbekov who launched the mass “attributed campaign”, “drawing” the record-breaking 26 million tons in 2011. Any peasant will tell you how the regional departments of agriculture carry out the discharge from the capital every year – and draw in the reports the figures that are required of them by the Ministry of agriculture. And the local authorities, following Mamytbekov, quickly realized that the nice figures in the reports are an extra plus in their personal files.

Among the regions of the country in recent years, the North-Kazakhstan region has been the leader in postscript service. Doubtful “merit” belongs to no one else, as Aidarbek Saparov, the current first deputy head of the Ministry of agriculture.  He never hesitated to “draw” the figures needed in the reports: peasants tell us that when they received a harvest of 10 c/ha, they were forced to report about the supposedly received 20 c/ha at Saparov’s request! And what do you think? Such dexterity of hands allowed the official to go a way from an ordinary employee of the branch of “Prodcorporation” to the vice-minister’s chair! 

What about the peasants? There is nowhere for them to go: they will not write the necessary reporting – they will not receive subsidies.

And no one will ask for the postscript from the officials, because they cover for each other. And go and check where the truth is and where the lies are. Especially, when the lie is so sweet and necessary.

Mamytbekov’s example turned out to be contagious, and his successor, Askar Myrzakhmetov, “collected” 20,634,400 tons in the autumn of 2016, and 20,585,100 tons in the autumn of 2017. Umirzak Shukeyev, who came next, decided not to fall below the solid bar of 20 million, who in 2018 “grinded” 20 million 273.7 thousand tons.

What about the current head of the Ministry of agriculture, Saparkhan Omarov? This year’s harvest figures are also very solid – 19.7 million tons of grain was allegedly received! Almost – the cherished 20 million!  And this is against the backdrop of a terrible drought in the entire grain belt of the country, as well as the unfavorable autumn, which did not allow to carry out harvesting.

Obviously, Saparkhan Omarov walked along a crooked path trampled by Asylzhan Mamytbekov and also decided to smear the eyes of the head of state by drawing in his report the grain that does not actually exist in nature. Do you want proof? Go to the shop and look at the prices of bread. They won’t lie, unlike officials.

Yuri Pomynov

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