ASTANA — The Republic of Kazakhstan has a dark history of hunger.
A former member of the USSR, Kazakhstan was one victim of collectivist farming, which resulted in the starvation of millions of people in the 1930s. After declaring independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, Kazakhstan was left to deal with an economy sunken deep into recession; however, in merely a few decades, Kazakhstan has managed to improve its economy. Simultaneously, hunger in Kazakhstan has decreased, and the nation has even contributed to the effort to decrease hunger beyond its borders.
In the late 1990s, the oil industry of Kazakhstan experienced a boom, which enriched its struggling economy. Despite the economic success of the oil industry, the government of Kazakhstan encouraged diversification to ensure long-term economic safety. In 1997, Kazakhstan created a national strategy, which focused on developing their agriculture industry.
Only a few years later, they updated this strategy to include efforts increasing food security in order to eliminate hunger.
Kazakhstan’s plan to increase food security encompassed their previous goal of agricultural development as well as environmental disaster preparedness and improving sustainable resource management. The U.S. Food and Agriculture Organization assisted Kazakhstan in their journey to decrease hunger, helping the country create a programming framework for better food security.
Many other organizations, such as the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the U.S. Agency for International Development, also provided aid to help reduce hunger in Kazakhstan.
Since 1990, the rate of hunger-related mortality in Kazakhstan decreased by 5.4 percent. The FAO lauded Kazakhstan as an incredible example of how to efficiently increase food security and decrease hunger in Central Asia.
Malnutrition in Kazakhstan occurs at a rate 3 times lower than that of neighboring Tajikistan, one of the most impoverished countries in Central Asia.
In 2007, Kazakhstan and Asana founded KAZNEX INVEST, which exports agricultural products throughout Central Asia. KAZNEX INVEST provides the U.N. Food Programme with the flour it gives to Tajikistan. As a successful grain producer, Kazakhstan has not only decreased its own incidence of hunger, it has also benefited the food security of surrounding nations.
Nearly a third of Kazakhstan’s indigenous population died from starvation under Joseph Stalin’s communist regime, and the nation faced economic instability in the following decades; however, Kazakhstan has managed to find a way to mend its economy and appease the hunger of its citizens.
Through government initiative and generous aid, Kazakhstan has decreased its own hunger and contributed to hunger eradication on a global scale.
– Mary Efird