Former Minister of Agriculture Asylzhan Mamytbekov supported the protesting farmers of Aktobe region. Also in a conversation with a World of NAN journalist, at the "Asia grains&oils conference in Qazaqstan 2021", he stated that commodity-specific subsidies should be eliminated.
To recall, Aktobe farmers held a peaceful rally, where they demanded the Ministry of Agriculture to reconsider the national project on the development of the agro-industrial complex.
"I think they are rightly indignant that such an important document was adopted in a short time and was not coordinated in any way with the business it is aimed at regulating. I remember when we were adopting the Agribusiness 2020 program, we spent a year and a half in the regions, we had cluster meetings: answering questions, adjusting, correcting, and then the program was adopted in quite a long time. Although this is just a sectoral program, not of national importance, "- shared Asylzhan Sarybayevich.
It should be noted that the Ministry of Agriculture has already made an official statement. According to their information, the National Project was developed taking into account the comments of government agencies and stakeholders, including unions and associations of farmers. Who, then, is to be believed? It is not clear. At the same time, the agricultural department promises to consider farmers' demands in the future. Now we can only wait and hope for the integrity of our officials.
Asylzhan Mamytbekov in his conversation with us expressed his position regarding subsidies. In his opinion, the industry should not be artificially promoted through money only and farmers should not be guided only by subsidies, it is necessary to take into account the district specialization and market requirements.
"The so-called commodity-specific subsidies that distort the cost should be eliminated. After all, these kinds of subsidies are like "crutches" for business. You know, if you give a person crutches, their muscles and bones atrophy and they stop moving normally. That's why they have to be removed. For example, there is the Kern Group, which includes Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Argentina. These countries are world leaders in agriculture, and they don't have a single cent of subsidies," said the former agriculture minister.
The former official is aware of the wave of negativity that could be unleashed on him. However, he was not afraid to speak out. Farmers, who are used to receiving subsidies, will definitely not approve of such an idea. Who wants to lose money? No one! But this is the opinion of the former Minister of Agriculture. However, he believes that there is a need for some subsidies.
"There should be subsidies that create a normal environment for business. These are interest rate subsidies, insurance subsidies, investment subsidies, subsidies for scientific research and dissemination of knowledge. These are the kind of subsidies that should be in place," Asylzhan Mamytbekov concluded.