Kazakhstanis Are Spending More Than a Half of Their Income on Food

The prices surge too fast, a Mazhilis deputy said

The rise in food prices in Kazakhstan reached 11.4% in a year. Grains, flour, eggs, oil, and sugar, everything has become more expensive. As a result, the average Kazakhstani family is spending 54.3% of its income on food. This is a historical record for Kazakhstan and one of the worst rates in the world, according to Kazakhstan People’s Party deputy Aikyn Konurov.

Various state agencies are responsible for correct work of the food market in the country, but can’t deliver, he said.

«Those mechanisms that are offered by our government are not able to cope with problems in some industries. For example, they had been completely useless during the surge in egg and oil prices. There is no systemic approach to reduce the inflation rate in the food industry,» the deputy stated.

According to him, a food security strategy is needed. Food products should be affordable for people and that is a task for a special state body or commission. The current work of stabilization funds and food distribution centers must be reassessed.

In January, when food prices soared to 11.4%, state officials said that it’s the main driver for inflation in Kazakhstan. Thus, the price of salad oil increased by 36.6% over the year; sugar by 34.9%, eggs by 27.2%, and vegetables by 16%. However, rice and poultry meat became cheaper by 1% and 0.4% respectively over the same period.

In December 2020, Kazakhstan took the last position in a rating of the share of food expenditures. The rating has reviewed European countries, including former Soviet republics and found that Kazakhstanis spent almost 50% of income on food; 2.4% on alcohol and tobacco, 2.9% for cafés and restaurants, and 1.7% for leisure.

According to the Bureau of National Statistics, the average salary in Kazakhstan was about 222,261 tenge ($534.83) as of January 2021.

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