Voices from Russia

Monday, 26 February 2018

Russia Exports Record-Breaking 50 Million Tonnes of Grain


It’s only right that the largest country in the world should also be the greatest agricultural giant. The best soil in the world is a Russian word… Чернозём (Chernozyom), “black earth”… Russia has the largest deposit in the world. Traditionally, the Central Black Earth Region is southwest of Moscow, including and especially Voronezh, Kursk, and Belgorod, as well as Lipetsk, Tambov, and Oryol Oblasts. This traditional region extends into the northeastern Ukraine, especially Chernigov Oblast. Hitler sent trainloads of the soil back to Germany, to compensate for their soil, which is poor by comparison to that in Russia… although not necessarily bad by itself. Although it’s illegal to sell agricultural land in that fashion today, it still happens in the Ukraine, as the post-Maidan régime rushes to sell its country and people, as Gogol described in Taras Bulba:

One sells his own out like selling soulless grain in a marketplace.

In Russia, they aren’t selling the land or the people, but they’re successfully exporting a bountiful harvest, after saving millions of tonnes for the motherland. RT quoted Putin:

It’s a record grain crop. Minister of Agriculture Tkachyov said it’d be 130.5 million tonnes, probably more. In general, it’s the largest harvest in Russian history

That really pokes a hole in the idea that sanctions are weakening Russia. The Russian people will endure, and grow ever stronger. Agriculture has always been a symbol of Russian growth and endurance. RT reported:

The growing production of grain in Russia boosts exports, which are close to a record 50 million tonnes this year according to Andrei Sizov, director of the SovEcon analytical centre. He said that Russia exported 48 million tonnes between July 2017 and the end of January 2018. Last year, Russia ceded its status as leading wheat exporter to the USA. The Agriculture Ministry expects to regain this status by the end of this agricultural year (July 2017 – June 2018). It forecasts grain exports to be 45 million tonnes against 35.5 million tonnes in the previous year. Overall, agricultural production in Russia should grow three percent this year, from last year’s 120.7 million tonnes. That’d be the best-ever harvest for Russia, even counting the Soviet era.

Russia’s export market is actively expanding. Russia supplies grain to Algeria, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey, and Iran, and Saudi Arabia announced plans to become a major hub for Russian agricultural products in the Middle East. In the near future, exports to Indonesia and Thailand will increase, as well as those to Latin American countries, including Mexico. Russia has a significant share of the European market; almost 12 percent of Russian agricultural exports, worth around 2 billion USD (111.974 billion Roubles. 12.618 billion Renminbi. 129.61 billion INR. 2.526 billion CAD. 2.54 billion AUD. 1.623 billion Euros. 1.424 billion UK Pounds), go to Europe. Three years ago, President Putin set a goal of making Russia the world’s largest supplier of healthy, ecologically-clean, and high-quality food.

20 February 2018

Matfey Shaheen

Russia Feed



Tuesday, 13 December 2016

FAO Sez Russia is Now Major Actor on Global Agriculture Markets



UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Director-General José Graziano da Silva told RIA Novosti:

Russia made significant progress in the agriculture sector; it’s now an important player on global agricultural markets. It’s poised to become the biggest global wheat exporter in 2016/17. Further, our understanding is that forecasts show that Russia’s total cereal production in 2016 will reach record levels. Russia was one of the most important partners of FAO, significantly contributing to global nutrition security. The [Russian-FAO] coöperation revolves around knowledge exchange and provision of technical assistance to developing countries in ensuring food security, food safety, nutrition, and in tackling transnational animal and plant diseases. FAO is also very much interested in attracting Russian expertise to its forestry, fisheries, land/water management, and soil programmes.

Russia provided 6 million USD (366 million Roubles. 41.4 million Renminbi. 405.6 million INR. 7.878 million CAD. 8.028 million AUD. 5.658 million Euros. 4.728 million UK Pounds) to FAO to implement a food and nutrition security project in Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan. Russia is also interested in allocating money for a FAO project for the progressive control of foot-and-mouth disease in the same region. In 2015, during my official visit to the Russian Federation, we signed a 1 million USD (61 million Roubles. 6.9 million Renminbi. 67.6 million INR. 1.313 million CAD. 1.338 million AUD. 943,000 Euros. 788,000 UK Pounds) coöperation agreement to support the Global Soil Partnership. I also hope that FAO and Russia would boost coöperation to support FAO work in post-disaster and emergency situations across the globe. The international community can achieve the ambitious goal of eradicating hunger by 2030. We aren’t talking about simply halving hunger’s scope or reducing the absolute numbers of hungry people… we’re talking about really ending hunger by 2030, and providing healthy sustainable diets to all. This is a bold goal, but we’re convinced that it’s indeed viable and affordable. We can and we must be the Zero Hunger generation.

The struggle against hunger requires multiple efforts in many spheres. The UN’s 17 sustainable development goals, including elimination of hunger and poverty, as well ensuring quality education, are part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by the UN General Assembly on 25 September 2015. The instability and various conflicts around the world have a negative impact on the issue of global food security, as well as social protection capabilities. Conflict is one of the main… if not the main… drivers of food insecurity and malnutrition. It reduces food availability, disrupts access to food and health care, interrupts food production and agriculture, and undermines social protection systems. Indeed, conflict characterised every famine in the modern era. Some 80 percent of humanitarian funding appeals had links to conflicts, adding that over 56 million people affected by protracted crises were in an emergency level of food insecurity. The FAO exerts efforts to promote stability and food security in conflict-ridden countries such as Nigeria, which deals with the Boko Haram insurgency.

13 December 2016

Sputnik International


Thursday, 21 July 2016

Russia Dominates Global Wheat Market

00 harvester combine russia 050915


For the second year running, Russia is the world’s top wheat producer with exports of 22.5 million tonnes of grain this year, according to the US Department of Agriculture. Russia won contracts to exports 120,000 tonnes of wheat to Egypt. The Agriculture Ministry stated that in the autumn, as soon as the harvest brings in a new crop, Russia would supply wheat to China. Russia’s leading position in the global wheat market is because of its low-price strategy, which increased its market share.

The weakened national currency and favourable weather, as well as more investment, pushed forward Russian agriculture and unseated the USA as the world’s biggest wheat exporter. The Black Sea region, including the Ukraine and Romania, traditionally takes the lead at the start of the season with French exports catching up later. However, this year, France is out of the league of top wheat sellers after heavy flooding waterlogged fields and increased concerns over grain quality. According to German agriculture consultant BayWa, the soggy fields reduced crops by 17 percent (to 34 million tonnes) this season.

Matt Ammermann, a commodity risk manager at US-based financial services firm FCStone told Bloomberg, “The Black Sea just has so much to sell now and the quality is coming out better than expected. Traders aren’t even willing to look at French wheat after the harvest delays”. As of Friday, the Moscow-based Institute for Agricultural Market Studies said that wheat at Black Sea ports sold for 165 USD (10,550 Roubles. 1,100 Renminbi. 11,100 INR. 215 CAD. 220 AUD. 150 Euros. 125 UK Pounds)/tonne according to. That’s at least 15 USD (960 Roubles. 100 Renminbi. 1,000 INR. 19.50 CAD. 20 AUD. 13.60 Euros. 11.35 UK Pounds) cheaper than French wheat. Kiev-based UkrAgroConsult believed that Russia should gain nearly 16 percent of the global market this year compared to 14.4 percent a year ago. France’s share would reportedly decline to 11 percent from 12.1 percent last season. Sergei Feofilov, the head of UkrAgroConsult, told Bloomberg, “Russia’s position in the wheat market is changing because Russian farmers received high margins from selling their grain crop of last year, which they used to invest in better farming and technology”. Experts are positive on Russian wheat production through 2020, citing the weak rouble over the period. Alexandre Andrey, an analyst at BMI Research, told Bloomberg, “Thus, Russia would be in a prime position to compete on volume and price against France, Romania, and the Ukraine”.

20 July 2016



Sunday, 7 February 2016

Russia Overtakes American Position in World Agricultural Market

00 LNR 2015 23 farm harvest


Due to several factors, including the rise in the US Dollar, American agricultural products are becoming too expensive and uncompetitive. Meanwhile, Russian farmers are seizing leading positions in the market. This year, the international agricultural market saw significant changes due to such factors as a stronger dollar, the collapse of oil prices, and better crops. According to the Wall Street Journal, as a result, leading exporters gave way to new players. Recently, Canada and the USA, the world’s biggest agricultural exporters, lagged behind Russia in overall production of wheat. This year, Russia plans to export 23.5 million tonnes of grain. Canada expects to export 20 million tonnes and the USA projects exports of 21.8 million tonnes. These former agricultural market leaders could see their lowest rates of export in 44 years. Michael McDougall, director of agricultural commodities at Société Générale SA in New York, said:

Unless emerging-market currencies stop falling, the USA will lose more export market share and will begin to see more foreign products coming in.

Currently, international consumers aren’t very enthusiastic about buying American grain due to the stronger dollar, especially now that fierce competition on the international food market considerably lowered the cost of products in general. Chad Hart, a grain market analyst at Iowa State University (ISU) Extension, said:

The dollar’s strength is be­­coming a bigger issue for farmers than we’ve seen for a while. It’s really having an impact this year.

Meanwhile, the WSJ noted that Russia managed to balance prices and grab a larger share of established markets, such as Egypt. That includes markets traditionally dominated by the USA, so, American farmers will need to get ready for diminished demand and a downslide in prices.

8 February 2016 (MSK)



Journalist Fred Weir pointed up that Moscow’s retaliatory sanctions against the EU helped Russian farmers revitalise their country’s agricultural markets. He thinks that Russia’s “small domestic farmers” managed to “step up” due to Moscow’s retaliatory sanctions against the EU. In his article published in the Christian Science Monitor, Weir specifically quoted one such farmer, Aleksandr Sayapin, who said:

Russia’s near-complete ban on food products, including dairy imports from the EU, created an opportunity. We tripled our production in the past year; we carved out a place in the market.

Weir wrote:

Despite persistent economic woes, Russia’s agriculture seems to have rebounded briskly. The growth came due to a comprehensive subsidy programme aimed at promoting private farming. The programme began in 2012 and includes low-cost loans, controlled prices for fertilizers, support for producers of domestic farm machinery, and state financing for other vital elements of agricultural infrastructure. This clearly had an impact, and that Russia, which previously was one of the largest importers of chicken and pork from North America, became a net exporter of pork for the first time in history in 2015. Russian agricultural exports were [worth] 20 billion USD (1.55 trillion Roubles. 131.52 billion Renminbi. 1.358 trillion INR. 27.78 billion CAD. 28.23 billion AUD. 17.93 billion Euros. 13.79 billion UK Pounds) last year , more than international arms sales, and should grow further this year. The sanctions also boosted the revival of traditional Russian cuisine and a favourable environment for Russian producers of old ingredients like beets, cabbage, buckwheat, tvorog (Russian-style farmers cheese), and kefir (a yogurt drink).

Weir interviewed a former Soviet military officer-turned-businessman Andrei Davidov, who now runs a cattle farm in the nearby city of Kaluga in central Russia, saying:

Davidov has about 150 Hereford cattle at his farm, which he butchers himself, and he makes a comfortable living supplying a supermarket chain and a couple of restaurants in Kaluga.

Davidov said:

I remain upbeat about my country’s future, as far as raising beef cattle is concerned. What this country needs are 800,000 private farms raising cattle, like in the USA; then, maybe, we’d be an agricultural superpower.

Moscow’s sanctions came in response to Western punitive measures levelled two years ago over Russia’s alleged role in the Ukrainian crisis. Repeatedly, Kiev and the West accused Russia of backing the Peoples Republics in the Donbass, in the former eastern Ukraine. Moscow vehemently denies the allegations.

3 February 2016


Sputnik International

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