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Nurlan Kuralov: "It is very profitable to be engaged in gardening now"

25 January 2017
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Shymkent farmer explains why one should not be afraid of gardening and what problem experience the most profitable agribusiness

The founder of agro-industrial corporation LLP "Amankeldі" Nurlan Kuralova has 500 hectares of gardens in South Kazakhstan region, of which 150 hectares - vineyards and 350 - the gardens, where grows almost the entire range of fruit, that are characteristics of the region: apples, cherries, plum, pear , quince and others.

- Nurlan Amangeldievich as far as we know, in addition to gardening, you are engaged in production of different crops, cultivation of wheat. What is more important to you?

We are planning to develop within the line of horticulture and viticulture, as long experience has shown that it is the most profitable business in agriculture. We have built nursery gardens. If earlier, when we started, there were problems with the saplings, we had to import it from Turkey, Italy, Serbia, but now we supply farmers, who want to engage in gardening. We are engaged not only in this, now there are many nursery garden farms that operate at international standards. There is no need for our farmers to travel to foreign countries and to look for seedlings of fruit varieties. It's much easier task. And plus foreign seedlings have low survival rate - 70-80%, and our - 90-95%.

- Is there any kind of support from the state?

- Yes there are. Costs of drip irrigation, purchase of seedlings, etc. are subsidized at 30-40%. So now it is very profitable to be engaged in gardening. I suggest to Kazakhs not to be afraid to start a horticultural business.

- Is everything so good? Or are there any problems?

- Of course there are problems. First of all, it is the lack of staff. Agronomists, mostly close to retirement age, young people are reluctant to go into agriculture. The program "With diploma - to the village" is not intended for specialists in the field of agriculture: agronomists, livestock specialists, veterinarians, mechanics. I think we need to reconsider the matter and to include trades, which are very popular in the villages. We have to hire specialists from Uzbekistan, Turkey. We are trying to participate in the training, according to the principle of dual training we are cooperating with colleges and universities. But time passes, and we need specialists tomorrow, not the day after tomorrow, but now.

The second problem - is marketing. I believe that domestic producers should be given the benefits. Besides, getting on the commodity shelves, the price of our products increaes significantly. The lion's share of the margin stays with the intermediaries. And it can’t get to the markets, everything is taken there. We should legally oblige shopping centers to buy domestic products and to monitor the percentage of profit margin. Why cucumbers in greenhouses cost 400 tenge, and in the city more than 1000 tenge? Because starting from the porters, all intermediaries have their share. And eventually the producer and the consumer suffer. All margin remains at intermediaries. And every day these brokers become stronger. They already dictate terms to producers and the consumers. This is a very big state issue that we all need to address together. The state is trying to help, the city administration is now giving special boutiques. But intermediaries have already bought them and rent it for a high price.

- How many people work for you?

- We employ about 500 people. There is a problem of seasonality in our work. In winter, for three months, we have to let people go. Someone comes back, some does not. It is unstable work. We are not able to pay employees all the time.

- Your products are sold in Astana? Very often people are happy to buy domestic products, but do not know where to find it. Do you practice the home delivery of fruit?

- Our fruits can be purchased at the supermarket "Ken Mart”, they have a small profit margin, so the cost is adequate. We also have a delivery in the city of Shymkent and in Astana. We understand that to compete with supermarkets and bazaars, you can through development of online trade. But to adjust this work, we need specialists. Our website: aman-eco.satu.kz.

- How many products do you produce per year?

- We produce 1000 tons of grapes and 2,000 tons of apples and other fruits each year.


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