Kazakhstan opposes extension of Russia-led seed export ban

Kazakhstan will oppose any extension of the agriculture export restrictions a Russia-led trade bloc has so far imposed until June 30, its Agriculture Minister Saparkhan Omarov told reporters June 3.

The Eurasian Economic Union, which comprises Belarus, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan as well as Kazakhstan and Russia, restricted exports of sunflower seeds, buckwheat, rice, rye and soybeans outside the union in April to protect its own supplies as the coronavirus outbreak disrupted food chains.

“We, as the Agriculture Ministry, will insist that this ban is not extended any further,” Omarov said.

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The restrictions so far are a rare case of market co-operation between Russia and Kazakhstan, which are rivals on their main agricultural market – wheat.

Russia, the world’s second-largest sunflower seed producer after Ukraine, will propose the union extends the restrictions on sunflower seed exports until September 1, Interfax news agency reported on May 18, citing an unnamed source.

In previous years, some Russian officials have lobbied for the creation of a grain organization along the lines of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

The idea was revived in an interview with Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev by Russia’s Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper, published June 3.

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