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Efforts to ensure food security stepped up
China Daily
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Efforts to ensure food security stepped up

In recent years, under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, China and Kazakhstan have been actively cooperating in the agricultural sector to maintain regional food security.

The two countries have stepped up cooperation in inspection and quarantine, creating favorable conditions for trade in agricultural products.

In 2022, trade volume between China and the five Central Asian countries — Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan — hit a record high of $70.2 billion, Xinhua reported.

According to the General Administration of Customs of China, trade in agricultural products between China and the Central Asian countries rose from $175 million in 1992 to $1.07 billion in 2021. Agricultural trade between China and Kazakhstan ranked first, with a trade volume of $574 million, accounting for 53 percent of the total.

The Chinese customs said in 2021 that China imported $47.6 billion worth of agricultural products from countries involved in the BRI, a 26.1 percent increase year-on-year. The volume of trade in agricultural products has increased steadily, and cooperation between industrial and supply chains has been strengthened.

Last year, agricultural trade between China and Kazakhstan reached $930 million, a year-on-year rise of 61.3 percent. In addition, cooperation in agricultural science and technology is also growing rapidly, with both sides setting up joint laboratories and conducting research on new seeds and crop breeds.

Inspired by the BRI, the Chinese grain and oil enterprise Xi'an Aiju Grain and Oil Industrial Group established a factory in Kazakhstan in 2015 to promote "contract farming".

Relying on demand from the Chinese market, the company gets orders for Kazakh farmers with a guaranteed purchase price, which has helped farmers increase their incomes and expand exports.

The company has signed orders with farmers in Kazakhstan, covering about 100,000 hectares of wheat and oil crops, with the processing and storage capacity of grain and oil reaching 300,000 metric tons.

Rising potential

Experts say in the future, agricultural cooperation among countries involved in BRI can be upgraded on many fronts, including technology, talent exchange, trade and investment.

"More than ever, we need to innovate agricultural technology, optimize production methods, stimulate agricultural development, jointly deal with natural disasters and share the fruits of agricultural development on the principle of equality and mutual benefit," said Gu Weibing, an official with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.

Golden Camel Group, a Chinese enterprise based in southern Kazakhstan, set up a plant to produce camel milk powder in the Kazakh city of Turkestan. It is the largest of its kind in Central Asia, and has exported over 300,000 cans of milk powder to China.

"Our company managed to introduce camel milk powder into the Chinese market, which has further boosted the development of the local (animal) husbandry and increased the incomes of local herdsmen and residents," said Yang Jie, chairman of Golden Camel Group.

"The camel is the symbol of the ancient Silk Road, and both the Chinese and Kazakh people are fond of it. Supported by China-Europe freight trains, the products have been transported to China and European countries," said Zhazira Ozatkyzy, Kazakh general manager of Golden Camel Group.

Thanks to closer ties between China and the Central Asian countries and their strengthened cooperation in agriculture, an increasing number of agricultural products from Central Asian countries have been making their way into the Chinese market, Ozatkyzy added.

China DailyShen Yi

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