International food prices, agricultural transformation, and food security in Central Asia

This study addresses the impact of global food prices on domestic food prices, the short-term policy responses taken by national governments, and major constraints on long-term food security in Central Asia. A surge in domestic food-price inflation in Central Asian countries was almost perfectly simultaneous with the spike in international food prices. Food-price inflation was spurred in part by adverse weather conditions in 2007, and exacerbated by the decision of the government of Kazakhstan to temporarily impose export tariffs and suspend wheat exports. The transformation of the region's agriculture since 1991 has changed the structure of agricultural production and led to reallocation of more land to food crops, improving food security in the region, and mitigating the negative consequences of rising international food prices. The article argues that the further improvement of food security in the region requires concerted efforts from governments to remove constraints on agricultural productivity.