New minister promises to find solution to the sugar issue in Kazakhstan

Senior news correspondent
The country needs to produce more sugar on its own, says the minister

According to Serik Zhumangarin, acting minister of trade and integration, the sugar issue solution is quite obvious.

The official was appointed just yesterday and is now getting familiar with the ministry and the challenges it faces.

«I think the solution for the sugar deficit is quite obvious as we aren’t living on the Moon and sugar is produced in many countries. Currently, the Ministry of Agriculture is preparing a plan aimed at transforming the entire sugar industry in our country. I do not know the details as it is not approved yet but I believe this is the right direction,» he said.

On the other hand, the sugar industry development plan would require more sugar beet to be produced locally. This is a key factor that can make Kazakhstan independent from price swings on the global market.

«This move might be expensive, I mean sugar-beet production on our own, but it will pay off. Even now our sugar plants have enough capacity to provide the entire country with this product, but we have no raw materials. We are buying raw materials from South America and India. As long as we have no sugar beet nursed domestically, we must facilitate sugar plants to sign contracts with sugar cane producers in Latin America and India,» the acting minister said. 

These measures are necessary to get rid of the sugar issue once and for all.

«My job is to learn why this has happened and do my best to avoid such situations in the future,» Zhumangarin added.

Yesterday, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev discharged Bakhyt Sultanov from the position of minister of trade and integration. Serik Zhumangarin, who used to be the head of the Anti-Monopoly Agency, has been appointed as the acting minister of trade.

 This summer Kazakhstan has faced a deficit of sugar as the time for supply transport increased tenfold and even more. According to Erbol Karashukeev, this has happened because of geopolitical tensions in neighboring countries.

President Tokayev believes that the sugar deficit is a big miscalculation of both the minister of trade and minister of agriculture. He rebuked the two officials. Both of them Sultanov and Karashukeev admitted that criticism.

In August, it became aware that a huge bulk supplier used to buy about 90% of all domestically produced sugar. Prime Minister Alikhan Smailov, said that the situation resembles a monopoly and has ordered an investigation into the issue.  

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