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Kazakhistan President Tokayev hits out over sugar crisis

Kazakhistan President Tokayev hits out over sugar crisis

Kazakhistan President Tokayev hits out over sugar crisis

Kazakhistan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.

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  • Kazakhstan’s President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has criticised his government’s handling of a sugar crisis.
  • Sugar shortages and price surges contributed to the chaos in supermarkets.
  • In Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city, sugar prices have nearly doubled this year.
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NUR-SULTAN, Kazakhstan: The president of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev criticised his government’s handling of a sugar crisis on Thursday, as shortages and price surges contributed to the chaos in supermarkets.

Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, rising living costs have helped fuel instability throughout Central Asia, especially in the region’s richest country, Kazakhstan, where 238 people were killed in January.

As a result of Russia’s offensive in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, which used to be part of the Soviet Union, has also had serious problems with exports. In March, Russia, an important economic partner, stopped sugar and grain exports.

During a government meeting on Thursday, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev called sugar shortages in stores “a disgrace” and criticised authorities for “a serious miscalculation.”

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“The government urgently needs to develop a separate project for the development of the sugar industry,” he stated.

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“The goal is a significant reduction in import dependence and a gradual transition to self-sufficiency.”

Tokayev also highlighted that the area planted with sugar beets has decreased by a third during the past four years.

Since the beginning of the year, sugar prices in Almaty, Kazakhstan’s largest city, have nearly doubled, reaching the equivalent of one dollar for a kilo (2.2-pound) bag.

But at this price, sugar quickly runs out, as seen by videos of shoppers fighting to get the bags; in some shops, kilo bags are available for $1.09 each.

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