Kazakhstan aims to triple wheat exports to China -president

Member of the Politburo of the Communist party of China Yang Jiechi talks to Kazak President Kassym Jomart Tokayev during the meeting on September 11, 2019. (Reuters)
Updated 11 September 2019

Kazakhstan aims to triple wheat exports to China -president

  • China is already a major market for Kazakhstan’s exports of oil, gas and metals
  • Kazakhstan exports most of its grains to Central Asian countries, Afghanistan, the Caucasus and further west through the Black Sea ports

ALMATY, Kazakhstan: Kazakhstan could potentially more than triple wheat exports to China, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said on a visit to China on Wednesday.

Kazakhstan, Central Asia’s largest grain producer, and Russia, one of its main competitors in wheat exports via the Black Sea, have long sought to sharply increase wheat and other agricultural exports to China.

“Last year (Kazakh) grain exports to China reached 550,000 tons,” Tokayev’s office quoted him as saying at a meeting of a Chinese-Kazakh business council in Beijing.

“We could increase these volumes to 2 million tons.” No timeframe was given for reaching the target. Tokayev did not say what measures Kazakhstan and China would need to take in order to achieve such growth. He also said the former Soviet republic could supply China with salt, dairy products, meat and poultry.

China is already a major market for Kazakhstan’s exports of oil, gas and metals. Kazakhstan traditionally exports most of its grains to neighboring Central Asian countries, Afghanistan, the Caucasus and further west through the Black Sea ports.

Russia, the world’s largest wheat exporter, expects China to open its market for imports of wheat produced across all regions of Russia within a year, its agriculture ministry said last week.


Indian officials warn of lockdown extensions as COVID-19 cases in South Asia near 6,000

Updated 04 April 2020

Indian officials warn of lockdown extensions as COVID-19 cases in South Asia near 6,000

  • Modi said this week the country will pull out of the planned three-week lockdown in a phased manner
  • India has been hardest hit by the disease in South Asia with some 2,902 cases, of which 68 have died

MUMBAI: The number of confirmed new coronavirus cases in South Asia neared 6,000 on Saturday, even as authorities in some cities tightened restrictions on movement and warned lockdowns could be extended in a bid to rein in the pandemic.
“If people don’t obey the rules seriously and cases continue to rise, then there may be no option but to extend the lockdown,” Rajesh Tope, the health minister of Maharashtra state which includes the financial hub Mumbai, told Reuters. “It could be extended in Mumbai and urban areas of Maharashtra by two weeks.”
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi said this week the country will pull out of the planned three-week lockdown in a phased manner. India has been hardest hit by the disease in South Asia with some 2,902 cases, of which 68 have died.
Maharashtra has 516 confirmed cases of COVID-19 — the disease caused by the coronavirus — and 26 people have died.
While the government does plan to review the lockdown, set to end on April 14, three senior officials told Reuters this will depend on an assessment of the situation in each state, and lockdowns and restrictions would be extended in districts where the coronavirus case spread has continued.
Public transport in large metros such as Mumbai, Bengaluru and Delhi, may only be restored in a phased manner days after the lockdown ends, said the officials, who asked not to be named as the plans were still under discussion.
Restrictions tightened
The number of COVID-19 cases have more than doubled in South Asia in the last week. Health experts warn an epidemic in the region, home to a fifth of the world’s population, could overwhelm its already weak public health systems.
But Muslim-majority Pakistan and Bangladesh, and India, home to the world’s largest Muslim minority, have struggled to convince conservative religious groups to maintain social distancing.
On Friday, Pakistani Muslims at a Karachi mosque clashed with baton-wielding police trying to enforce new curbs on gatherings to prevent Friday prayers and contain coronavirus infections, officials said.
This came after the government in the southern province of Sindh, home to the financial hub of Karachi, enforced a three-hour curfew on Friday afternoon, in a bid to persuade Muslim worshippers to pray at home.
Pakistan has so far reported 2,547 coronavirus infections, fueled by a jump in cases related to members of the Tablighi Jamaat, an orthodox Muslim proselytising group.

Following is data on the spread of the coronavirus in South Asia, according to government figures:

* India has registered 2,902 cases, including 68 deaths.
* Pakistan has registered 2,547 cases, including 37 deaths.
* Afghanistan has registered 281 cases, including 6 deaths.
* Sri Lanka has registered 159 cases, including 5 deaths.
* Bangladesh has registered 61 cases, including six deaths.
* Maldives has registered 32 cases and no deaths.
* Nepal has registered six cases and no deaths.
* Bhutan has registered five cases and no deaths.