AGRITECH VISION

Kazakhstan 2018 | AGRICULTURE | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Temirkhan Dosmukhambetov, Chairman of Bayserke Agro, on high-potential business lines, new technologies, and the strategic growth of Kazakhstan's agriculture sector.

Temirkhan Dosmukhambetov
BIOGRAPHY
Temirkhan Dosmukhanbetov has served as the Minister of Tourismand Sports in the Government of Kazakhstan since President Nursultan Nazarbayev appointed him on March 27, 2006. Prior to that he served as the Mayor of Astana. He also serves as Chairman of Bayserke Agro.

What is the background behind the creation of Bayserke Agro?

Around 10 years ago, I first started my activities in agriculture. After speaking with the President, we decided it was important to build a farm that would be an example to other farmers for how to do business in agriculture. While our country is blessed with great agricultural potential, it is difficult to develop without the use of cutting-edge technologies. People know how to work the land and sow, though they do not know that there are new revolutionary technologies beyond our borders that could increase output 10 fold. The future of agriculture is all about technology; therefore, we are actively investing in new equipment.

How do you separate the different strands of businesses and what is the company's main focus?

We have different divisions and focus areas for the holding. For example, we have a greenhouse in Shymkent of 4ha together with a South Korean company. It is run using the most advanced technologies because there is a shortage of land in South Korea and they are extremely effective in green housing. They have even surpassed Israeli technology, which was considered the best. We are also renowned for our milk farming. We invest in breeding the best cows for milking, which can produce up to double or triple the amount of milk as normal milking cows, which typically produce around 10 to 15 liters a day. Dairy farming is extremely important to us, not only because of our high margins and efficiency, but also because it supports our liquidity day in, day out. Unlike with pastoral or crop farming, where one sows the seeds and waits full seasons for it to be harvested and then sold, with milk we bring in money around the clock. With meat there is a similar story. What is happening here in Kazakhstan is that farmers get the birth in the spring and in the next year start selling, so there is a huge bulk of meat in the November-December period, whereas later on in the year there is a shortage of meat. That is why Kazakhstan is slow in developing in meat; however, we are now changing the system in line with practices from many developed countries. For example, we are applying insemination technology from bulls in Europe and Canada, which are in better condition. This is just one example of our different divisions in agriculture that involve international technologies and best practices, but in general Bayserke Agro covers all the major divisions of the industry.

Why do you think Bayserke Agro is of such strategic importance to the country?

We are bringing both knowledge and technology that we are adapting and implementing here, and spreading it around the country. We are also teaching; we are working closely in collaboration with two new universities in Almaty and Astana. We are pushing them to change the education system because students have strong academic knowledge; however, their practical understanding of agriculture is low. If we want to make quick progress in agriculture, we need people who can come in and start working and know these new technologies before they have entered the workplace. Young people's minds are wide open and when they see exciting technologies and their implementation, they are inspired and can inspire back with their own fresh ideas. It is important to involve them in this vision for our country.

What are your expectations for the company in 2018?

We are growing and bringing new partners to Kazakhstan. We are studying and expanding, not only in terms of size but also new technology, so we are going deeper. Our genetic laboratory project could dramatically change the livestock business; it will give us a 20-year step forward.