1 December 2017, Almaty, Kazakhstan – Large grain-processing and flour-milling enterprises, experts in the field of grain processing, heads of associations, and others from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russian Federation, Ukraine and Uzbekistan are in Almaty today to look at the future of Central Asia’s grain and flour markets.

“Grain and Flour Markets in Central Asia: Development Trends and Challenges” is the title of the international conference. It is organized jointly by the Union of Grain Processors of Kazakhstan, the Committee of Millers of the Union of Entrepreneurs of Kyrgyzstan, and the Union of Millers of Ukraine.

The event has the support of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Storage and Processing of Grain magazine. For FAO, it is part of a major Regional Initiative on “Improving Agrifood Trade and Market Integration 2016-2017.” Participants are discussing the development of flour and grain products markets, and prospects for trade development in the region and beyond.

“Most countries in the post-Soviet countries are actively involved in both global and regional integration processes,” said FAO economist Dmitry Prikhodko, “which implies an increase in exports of products with higher added value, creating additional jobs and attracting investments in agricultural value chains.”

FAO plays the role of a neutral platform for the exchange of information, knowledge and experience between countries – on the status of agricultural markets, trade policy measures, and development of markets. Through its Investment Centre Division, it also facilitates the attraction of investments from international financing institutions.

The conference agenda includes an overview of global flour markets, and of the markets of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Ukraine. Issues such as tariff and non-tariff regulation of trade, analysis of grain quality in Kazakhstan, and problems of flour fortification are also included.

Participants are also discussing issues that determine national strategies for production, processing and trade of grain and grain products. The Union of Millers of Ukraine, for example, is expected to present its experience working with FAO and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to enter new markets.

FAO Regional Initiative

The regional initiative “Development of agri-food trade and access to international markets” aims to support countries in Europe and Central Asia in improving the policy and environment for small and medium-sized enterprises in the agro-food trade sector. Providing more favorable trade policies for modern agro-food markets implies the development of the potential for implementing trade agreements, improving domestic food security and adherence to quality standards are in the focus of the Initiative.

The initiative includes three main components – trade agreements, quality standards and export diversification.