Government meets with greenhouse farm owners in Turkestan region

A Government group led by Serik Zhumangarin, Deputy Prime Minister – Minister of Trade and Integration, paid a working visit to the Saryagash district of Turkestan region, where they discussed with farmers the situation with the development of greenhouse farms in the region.

Turkestan region is one of the leading regions of the country on production of greenhouse vegetables. On a share of the region, according to statistics, accounts 67 % of greenhouses of republic (it is greenhouses by a total area of 844 hectares). Of these, 170 farms on 46 hectares were recently hit by heavy snowfall and fuel shortages.

The most sought-after vegetables such as cucumbers and tomatoes were sown on 1.3 ha. As it turned out, 94% of the greenhouses that could not withstand the heavy snowfall were of light construction, hand-built by the farmers themselves. As the growers pointed out, the owners built them as cheaply as possible in order to recoup the costs faster. They also expressed the opinion that with stable support from the state or long loans at low interest rates, farmers will be able to build greenhouses according to the required standards and technologies.

Now the Akimat of Turkestan region is in charge of operational support measures for the affected farms, while the government is working on future systemic measures.

"We have come to you on behalf of the Government to decide together how the greenhouse industry will develop further. Experts from Uzbekistan have also come with us, who are ready to share their experience, technologies and other issues of greenhouse maintenance. Firstly, the state needs a result. There were subsidies to greenhouse farms before, but it was of little use: greenhouses were listed as operating, but they did not produce anything. If the government gives subsidies, in return you must sell enough vegetables for the domestic market and at the market price. The second thing is certification. In order to receive subsidies in the future, the greenhouse will have to meet production standards. For this purpose a national standard for greenhouses will be adopted. A corresponding order has already been given to the Committee for Technical Regulation and Metrology. You are also invited to take an active part in the development of this standard, to help with knowledge in practice. And the third, on coal - a representative of the Ministry of Industry will sound solutions that will help in the future to avoid such emergencies, as this year," Serik Zhumangarin appealed to the meeting participants.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture Abulkhair Tamabek said that 140 billion tenge were allocated to finance spring field work through the Agrocredit Corporation, and we are now working on the inclusion of greenhouses in the funding direction of this program. After making appropriate changes to the terms of the programme, greenhouse growers will also be able to receive loans not exceeding 5 per cent.

"We are now considering options for subsidising greenhouses, but the basis will be electricity and gas costs. The rest of the support measures are already in place, the state subsidises half of the costs of seeds, fertilisers and crop protection products. We will also develop a standard for greenhouses. All those who meet the standard requirements and accept reciprocal obligations will be subsidised," he said.  

Greenhouse growers are ready to obtain all the necessary documents, said Daniyar Kaltayev, chairman of the National Union of Cotton Producers and Growers.

"It is profitable for us to receive hectare subsidies, we used to work under this scheme. Since the subsidies were abolished in 2018, the construction of greenhouses has come to a standstill. We are ready to go through certification. Our suggestions: there is no coal in the off-season, and if there is, it is of poor quality. Greenhouse workers have no money to buy coal in advance and no place to store it in sufficient quantity. And all this leads to non-competitiveness of our products. We ask the Ministry of Industry and Infrastructure Development and KTZ to supply us with social coal in advance," Kaltayev said.

Zhanat Igisinov, head of the Coal Industry Committee of the Industrial Development Ministry of Kazakhstan, offered to negotiate with the key coal mining companies of the country and to conclude contracts on supply of coal directly from coal mines for timely provision of coal to greenhouse economies of the region.

"For its part, the Ministry of Industry is ready to assist in conducting negotiations with coal mining companies on coal supply. Only everything should be done in advance and not with the onset of cold weather. Coal does not lose its properties from storage time," he stressed.  

At the end of the meeting, most participants agreed that certification, standardisation and planning for greenhouse production is necessary. Small farms that are unable to go it alone should join together in cooperatives.

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