BISHKEK: Kyrgyzstan has followed Central Asian neighbour Kazakhstan in banning exports of sugar for six months, its government said Wednesday, citing food security and price concerns.

Both former Soviet countries saw sharp spikes in the cost of sugar in the weeks following the start of Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine after Moscow banned exports amid domestic panic-buying.

Prices in Central Asian markets later stabilised but Kazakhstan last month imposed bans on sugar exports for six months amid reports of local shortages, especially in northern regions bordering Russia.

Kyrgyzstan imposed an identical ban “in order to exclude the possibility of mass export of sugar from the Kyrgyz Republic, ensure the country’s food security and contain prices in the sugar market”, the cabinet said in a statement on Wednesday.

Kyrgyz media reports have said sugar was being exported from Kyrgyzstan to Kazakhstan in large amounts after Kazakhstan’s ban entered into force in May.

Both countries are net importers of sugar that traditionally look to Russia and other countries to satisfy demand.

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