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Kazakhstan bans export of key food products amid coronavirus outbreak

25 March 2020

The government of Kazakhstan has suspended the export of socially significant food products since March 22 to guarantee the domestic supply, Kazakh Minister of Trade and Integration Bakhyt Sultanov announced on March 24, Xinhua news agency reported.

The banned products include buckwheat, wheat and rye flour, sugar, potatoes, carrots, turnips, beets, onions, cabbages, sunflower seeds and oil.

According to the Kazakh Agriculture Ministry, the ban is valid at least until April 15, 2020.

Along with the export ban, Kazakhstan is also reducing the value-added tax on agricultural products and imposing zero duty on imports of critical food products.

Minister Sultanov said as the country battles the COVID-19 outbreak, it is crucial to ensure uninterrupted supply on the domestic market. "There should always be bread, milk, cereals and meat on the tables of Kazakhstanis," said Sultanov, adding that the country will introduce regulations to control prices of socially significant goods.

As of the morning of March 25, Kazakhstan has reported 79 confirmed cases of COVID-19. The government has also shut down the country's two largest cities, Nur-Sultan and Almaty.