Booming agriculture transforming Russia’s energy driven economy

Russia’s agriculture exports have surged by almost a third in the first five months of the year. Food is Russia’s second biggest export after oil and gas, helping to diversify the economy away from energy.

The country exported 29.5 percent more agriculture and food products, worth $ 9.5 billion, than in the same period last year. In particular, the export of wheat through May surged to 17.1 million tons worth $ 3.1 billion.

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© Omar Torres

Turkey increased Russian wheat imports by 2.4 times, Latvia – by 3.4 times, and Vietnam – more than 19 times. The volume of export of soybean oil increased by 7.3 percent, and sales of soybeans surged by 2.5 times to 509,000 tons.

Significant growth was seen in chocolate exports. Through May, Russia sold $ 222 million of chocolate and candies, which corresponds to 30.1-percent growth.

Russia has been seeking to diversify the economy from oil and gas exports in recent years. President Vladimir Putin has instructed the government to boost non-energy exports to $ 250 billion by 2024. Part of the plan is to increase agricultural exports to $ 45 billion.

In 2017, the volume of exports of Russian food products and agricultural raw materials amounted to $ 20.7 billion. Russian exports of agricultural products and foodstuffs have grown 16-fold since 2000. In 2016, Russia became the world leader in wheat exports. Since the early 2000s, the country’s share of the world wheat market has quadrupled, from four to 16 percent.

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