Asia Grains&Oils Conference in Tashkent 2021: metting full of sun!




Autumn is a hot time for representatives of the agricultural sector: harvesting campaign and preparing for sowing, the end and start of production seasons, summing up certain results and planning further activities. This period is full of various meetings, forums and conferences held for representatives of the agro-industrial complex.

Autumn-2021 began with a rather significant and expected event for Central Asian grain and oil markets – the international conference Asia Grains&Oils Conference in Tashkent 2021.

September 8-9 were saturated not only with a "flurry" of information, but also with long-awaited meetings of partners and friends, new acquaintances and the most pleasant emotions.

What is the significance of the Asia Grains&Oils Conference in Tashkent 2021?
  • This is the first international agrarian conference held in Uzbekistan.
  • The two-day agenda connected the most important markets for food security provision - grain and oilseed. It gave a chance to present more comprehensive picture of region developments.
  • The event brought buyers and sellers together. About 280 representatives of the grain, oilseed and related markets from 12 countries joined the conference both offline and online.
  • There were 68 companies from Uzbekistan among the delegates of the conference, which are direct buyers of grains and oilseeds! There were about 70 companies from Kazakhstan being the main and largest supplier of agricultural products to Uzbekistan.
  • B2B meetings and mini-exhibition are another opportunity to establish new business contacts.
  • More than 30 speakers – international and domestic experts, leading agricultural analysts – made presentations and shared valuable information and their experience during three information sections.

Editor-in-chief of APK-Inform, Elena Cherednichenko noted during her welcoming speech: “During two conference days, all participants of our large-scale event will be presented with a full-scale study of the grain and oilseed markets of Uzbekistan and the closest partner countries. We have gathered professionals, who will share relevant and valuable information as well as personal experience of doing business both in Uzbekistan and abroad”.

Alisher Makhmudov, expert on agriculture and logistics of Central Asia, stated: “Meeting of so many buyers and sellers in one place is a dream for every company when it takes part in any event. This is the first agrarian conference of such scale in Uzbekistan, which proves the willingness of the country's leadership and market participants to reach a new level of cooperation with our partners”.

Support is the best commitment!

One soldier does not make a battle. Therefore, the support of the relevant ministries, departments and organizations of Uzbekistan was very valuable in holding Asia Grains&Oils Conference in Tashkent 2021. Representative of the Agricultural Ministry of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Association of fat & oil enterprises of Uzbekistan “Uzyogmoysanoat”, Ambassador of the Republic of Uzbekistan to Kazakhstan, Saidikram Niyazkhodzhaev and Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ukraine to the Republic of Uzbekistan, Nikolay Doroshenko. Their communication with other delegates facilitated the exchange of information and opinions between government agencies and representatives of the agricultural business as well as the strengthening of existing and the development of new trade relations between the countries.

It is also important to name the companies and organizations that supported Asia Grains&Oils Conference in Tashkent 2021.

Celvit was a gold sponsor of the conference, Myande Group was a technological sponsor. Also, companies SGS, VEKTOR Сompany Group, TAN, Khorolskiy Mechanical Plant , Kotloenergoproject, Bentonite sponsored the event.

First hand key trends
About the development prospects of Uzbek agricultural sector
Uzbekistan strive to modernize the agrarian sector

Deputy Minister of Agriculture of Uzbekistan, Head of the Main Directorate for the Development of the Food Industry, Anvar Asamov noted that the agriculture is one of the key sectors of the country's economy. Favorable natural and climatic conditions as well as a carefully thought-out state strategy contribute to the dynamic development of the agricultural sector. According to him, in recent years, consistent reforms have been implemented in Uzbekistan for the development of agriculture, the introduction of modern market mechanisms, management systems, which will increase the country's export potential. The adoption of the industry development strategy for 2020-2030 is essential.

About grain market of Central Asia
High wheat quality allows Kazakhstan to maintain its position on the grain market

Deputy Head of the Department of Grains and Oilseeds of the Ministry of Agriculture, Abdullo Mansurov spoke about the grain industry of Uzbekistan, particularly, the main trends in the development of grain production and processing. According to him, active work on selection and seed production is underway in the republic.

“Grain yield was improved with the help of the government's policy to achieve grain independence via the use of the proper varieties, improvement of cultivation technological processes and seeds quality. So, over the past 30 years, the area under ​​grain has been increased 4.6 times up to 1.33 mln ha and the yield has been up 2.9 times to 6.4 t/ha”, - A. Mansurov specified.

Lead agriculture economist with the World Bank (Uzbekistan), Sergey Zorya talked more specifically about Uzbek reforms on wheat, flour and bread.

According to him, despite the Decree of the President of Uzbekistan signed in 2020 to abolish the state order for wheat from 2021, there was not transition from the public procurement system to market conditions for grain business yet.

Uzbekistan is one of the few countries where there is a state order for wheat production, under which farmers are forced to sell wheat to the state at prices below market prices. Today, a system of distribution of crops grants designing of 1.4 mln ha of the arable land for wheat cultivation (overall arable land is 3.7 mln ha). Until recently, prices for bread, flour and wheat used to be fixed by the state, and they were significantly lower than market prices”, - the expert noted.

Economist of FAO, Elena Conte spoke about the development of wheat market of Central Asia in 2021/22 MY and Uzbek wheat balance.

FAO expects the decline of wheat production by 10% to 31.5 mln tonnes in Central Asia in 2021 due to unfavorable weather conditions, particularly, the lack of precipitations in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

“Wheat crop will decline to 5.4 mln tonnes in Uzbekistan in 2021/22 MY, down from 6.01 mln tonnes in 2020/21 MY and 6.1 mln tonnes average of the last 5 years. Thus, the import of wheat will amount to 3.86 mln tonnes from 3.78 mln tonnes in 2020/21 MY and 3.18 mln tonnes on average”, - the expert said.

In Kazakhstan, the leading wheat producer and exporter in the region, the lack of rains and dry weather affected wheat crop. The harvesting campaign was started in mid-August and was completed by the end of September.

“Lower wheat crop in importing countries of Central Asia, particularly Uzbekistan, will result in higher demand for Kazakh grain in 2021/22 MY. Therefore, the export of Kazakh wheat can amount to average level”, - E. Conte summarized.

Deputy Laboratory Manager at SGS Kazakhstan Ltd, Saltanat Orazova, presented on the trends of Kazakh grain market in 2021/22 MY, including quality aspects and logistical peculiarities.

She said that the yield of Kazakh wheat was 5-8 c/ha lower than the year ago in Kazakhstan in 2021 due to unfavorable weather. However, the quality of the grain will be as high as in 2020.

“SGS Kazakhstan has already started testing new-crop grain and has already examined more than 30 samples of wheat and barley. Generally, we expect quite good quality of Kazakh wheat despite the low yield”, - she said.

The expert noticed that Kazakh wheat has high protein content. It was about 15% in the samples of wheat of the harvest-2020 that exceeded slightly the result of 2019.

“Besides, gluten content of soft wheat of the harvest-2020 was high - about 31%. It is quite high result. The absence of rains during harvesting campaign resulted in high falling number of 293 s. Grain impurity was at 3%, foreign impurity - about 1.5%. It indicates high quality of Kazakh wheat that let Kazakhstan to keep its position on the grain export market”, - S. Orazova explained.

General director of ProZerno, Vladimir Petrichenko spoke about prospects of grain market of Asian part of Russia in 2021/22 MY.

“I suppose that the yield and crop size in 2021 will be better than in 2018, but lower than in 2019”, - he said adding that the yield of grains in Russian households was the lowest in three years as of early September.

The expert forecasts the average yield of grains at 2.5 t/ha and the crop at 119 mln tonnes in Russia in 2021.

“Wheat is a core of Russian grain production. We estimate wheat crop at 75 mln tonnes. Barley production is already known - 18.2 mln tonnes. The situation for corn is under the question. Initially, corn crop was forecast at 15 mln tonnes. However, we see now that we have to reduce this figure to at least 14 mln tonnes. But, if the weather is unfavorable, another reduction can be possible”, - V. Petrichenko specified.


About fat and oil industry in Central Asia
Uzbekistan has 240 oil extraction plants which work for only 40-50% of capacity

Alisher Makhmudov, expert on agriculture and logistics of Central Asia noted the importance of the business relations between Uzbekistan plants and oilseed and vegoils suppliers as currently Uzbekistan has 240 extraction plants which work for only 40-50% of capacity.

Ministry of Agriculture of Uzbekistan and Association of fat & oil enterprises of Uzbekistan “Uzyogmoysanoat” are actively developing the diversification of planting areas in the country in favor of oilseeds – soybean, safflower, etc. – to provide the fat&oils enterprises with sufficient volume of the raw materials, which are not enough to fill the capacities of plants” – explained the expert.

According to A. Makhmudov in 2019 Uzbekistan imported over 300 thsd tonnes of oilseeds, of which 270 thsd tonnes of sunflower seeds. In 2020, import volumes were nearly twice lower because of temporary ban on sunflower seeds deliveries from Kazakhstan and totaled 150 thsd tonnes (126 thsd tonnes of sunflower seeds). In January-March of 2021, oilseeds Uzbekistan imported around 55.5 thds tonnes of oilseeds.

Anvar Asamov, Deputy Minister of Agriculture of Uzbekistan, Head of the Main Directorate for the Development of the Food Industry emphasized that in order to gradually increase the production of vegoils and lower the import the country takes necessary measures to elevate the volumes of oilseeds cultivation.

In particular, in 2020 oilseeds production totaled 103 thsd tonnes. According to Ministry of Agriculture forecast in 2021 farmers can harvest over 400 thds tonnes of oilseeds.

According to Oybek Zufarov, chairman of the board, Association of fat & oil enterprises of Uzbekistan “Uzyogmoysanoat” in 5 years fat&oils production in Uzbekistan can increased by 7-10% - from 607 mln USD in 2021 to 890 mln USD in 2026.

“Reforms undertaken in Uzbekistan support the enterprisers of fat and oils industry and its development. We also expect the growth of the investments to this market segment from 42 mln USD in 2021 up to 50 mln USD by 2024 which will inevitably lead to improvement of the technological provision of the enterprises”, – noted O. Zufarov.

Besides, in 5 years the export can increased 2.5 times to 50 mln USD.

Speaking of the processing of sunflower seeds and cotton seeds in Uzbekistan, Kamar Serkaev, deputy chairman of the board, Association of fat & oil enterprises of Uzbekistan “Uzyogmoysanoat”, Doctor of Engineering, noted that farms increase the production of the oilseeds due to widening of the areas under soybeans and sunflower seeds.

“In 2021, oilseeds areas in Uzbekistan totaled 305 thsd ha, with 140 thsd ha under soybeans and 112 thsd ha under sunflower seed”, – added the expert.

He also noted that it was decided to actively increase areas under these oilseeds in Uzbekistan and it is expected that by 2026 soybean planting areas can reach 166 thsd ha and sunflower seed areas – 130 tha ha. “This in turn will help to increase the production of the oilseeds in the country – to 290 thsd tonnes of soybeans by 2026 and 230 thsd tonnes of sunflower seed”, – said the K. Serkaev.

Yadykar Ibragimov, chairman, National Association of Oilseeds Processors noted that despite the quantitative restrictions for feed export, introduced by the Ministry of Agriculture of Kazakhstan, export market of meals and cakes is open.

The restrictions are temporary and will be in force by February 28 of 2022. Also, quantity restriction has been introduced for export of Kazakh sunflower oil and seed starting September 6 and to February 1 of 2022”, – said Y. Ibragimov.

About oil-related industries on Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan exports confectionery to more than 20 countries of the world

The topic of prospects of demand of confectionery on fat and oils was covered by Mukhtar Umarov, chairman of assembly on economy of Uzbekistan; chairman of association of exporters of Uzbekistan.

Confectionery industry in Uzbekistan is fast developing. Export income reaches around 20 mln USD annually. Moreover, several foreign companies launched their confectionery plants in Uzbekistan, which are also export-oriented”, – explained the expert.

Uzbekistan needs specialized confectionery fats, the import of which is constantly increasing: from around 30-35 thsd tonnes in 2020 to 80 thsd tonnes this year. “Thus, I urge our producers of fat and oils to pay attention to this area and start producing specialized fats for the confectionery industry”, – said M. Umarov.

Nargiza Amambayeva, deputy chairman of the State committee for veterinary and medicine and livestock development of Uzbekistan, director general of Uzbekchorvanasil Agency focused attention of the participants on the importance of forming a fodder base in the country for the livestock sector which is directly related to the fat and oil industry.

“Uzbekistan farmers gradually increase the livestock volumes and this sector has great prospects for further development, but we need to work on strengthening the fodder base”, – said N. Amambayeva.


About logistics in Central Asia
Pandemic did not prevent container deliveries to increase through the territory of Kazakhstan

Representatives of the largest companies in Russia and Kazakhstan - JSC Russian Railways Logistics, JSC KTZ Express and Astyk Trans were invited to discuss the development of logistics infrastructure in the Central Asian region, new transport corridors and current logistics.

Despite the current situation in the world due to the coronavirus pandemic, in 2021 there was an increase in container traffic through the territory of Kazakhstan in all directions. For 8 months of this year 32% more cargo was transported compared to same period last year. In particular, on the promising China - Central Asia route, the volume of traffic during the reporting period increased by 18% - to more than 155 thsdTEUs. In general, Kazakhstan has a unique geographical position - land and sea borders with seven states. Our company is constantly working to increase the volume of traffic on all routes through the territory of the Republic of Kazakhstan”, - emphasized the Deputy General Director of JSC "KTZ Express" Aybek Kapar.

Zhandos Kuanyshev, vice-president for commercial work of the Kazakh Astyk Trans, added that Uzbek market is one of the largest for Kazakhstan. If we consider the dynamics of transportation of grain to Uzbekistan, then in 2019 about 2.6 mln tonnes of cargo were transported, in 2020 - 3.1 mln tonnes, and in the current year, according to the results of 7 months - already 1.6 mln tonnes.

To develop using the experience of success
Competent government policy and new technologies allowed Ukraine to achieve leadership positions in sunflower processing

Within the framework of the conference, special attention was paid to the experience of the development of the oil and fat industry in Ukraine - a leading country in the production and export of high-quality sunflower oil to the global market - and the development of cooperation in the exchange of technologies.

Andriy Kupchenko, head of the business projects service of APK-Inform, presented analytical data on the development of the oilseed sector of Ukraine. He said that the area under sunflower in 2021 in Ukrainian farms reached 6.8 mln ha, which is almost a quarter of the total planting area.

However, Ukraine had to go through a difficult and long way to take a leading position in the world market and currently there are more than 120 processing plants with a capacity of 24 mln tonnes, and the revenue from the export of sunflower oil exceeded 5.7 bln USD.

The head of the VEKTOR Company Group holding Alexander Alexandrov told in more detail how and with the help of what technological solutions Ukrainian oil-extracting and processing plants managed to achieve such high results. He invited representatives of the fat-and-oil industry of Uzbekistan to Ukraine, assuring that Ukrainian equipment manufacturers are ready to share their experience and proven technologies, and also expressed hope for productive cooperation in the future.

Director of the Kharkov boiler-building enterprise "Kotloenergoproekt" Vladimir Lifshits gave more details about the company's decisions regarding energy issues that relate to the oil and fat industry.

General Director of SELVIT LLC Vladimir Nenakhov spoke about optimal solutions for vegetable oil refining, and Deputy General Director of Myande Group Andrey Vusyk - about Myande technologies for processing oil seeds and experience in implementing projects in the CIS countries.

The founder of Bentonite Alim Dzhandzhumaev spoke about the company's new product - Uz Clay bleaching clay and its localization in the territory of Uzbekistan.

Some emotion and team building

The delegates of the Asia Grains & Oils Conference in Tashkent 2021 were provided with a lot of opportunities for communication, both formal and informal. In the given mood after the active informational first day of the conference, there was a gala dinner, where a truly fabulous atmosphere reigned in a restaurant with a national Uzbek flavor.

The sports team building was an unforgettable end of the conference, during which a bowling tournament was held. It should be noted that Alisher Makhmudov was the main organizer and judge.

On behalf of the organizers of Asia Grains & Oils Conference in Tashkent 2021 - APK-Inform news agency, the Uzbek company INTER STANDART CONSULT and AsiaBusinessConsulting (Kazakhstan), we thank all the participants, speakers and sponsors for their support and trust!

Of course, we cannot stop at the achieved results and, by popular request, we announce the second round of the Central Asian event, which will take place on November 17-18, 2021 in Nur-Sultan.

We invite everyone to the equally large-scale agro-industrial conference "Asia Grains & Oils Conference in Qazaqstan".

by Julia Shevchenko