Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said recently that Russia has basically achieved sufficient supply of agricultural products. In the future, it plans to further expand the scale of Russian agricultural exports. The long-term goal of Russian agricultural exports is to “send the agricultural production to the world.”
Before the West imposed sanctions on Russia in 2014, the import of Russian agricultural products has always been higher than the export value. Since then, Russia has actively promoted agricultural reform and revitalization under external pressure, and the effect has been remarkable. Russian President Vladimir Putin said recently that agriculture has become the “locomotive” of Russia’s economic growth.
The future of the Russian economy
Since 2014, Western countries have imposed economic sanctions on Russia for four years. Russia’s long-standing economic structure, which is highly dependent on energy exports, has experienced frequent crises under the influence of falling international energy prices, huge capital outflows and the accelerated depreciation of the ruble.
When people are still arguing “when the Russian economy collapses” and when international energy commodity prices bottom out, Russia’s agriculture in 2015 has shown a contrarian growth, becoming one of the few growth areas in the Russian economy; in 2016, Russia’s grain output reached its highest level in 38 years, and agricultural exports even exceeded the arms export revenue. Among them, the production of sugar beet is more than 48 million tons, which has surpassed France, the United States and Germany to become the world’s largest beet sugar producer. In 2017, Russia’s grain output reached a new high in 40 years, galvanized steel tubing suppliers reaching 134 million tons. In 2018, despite several adverse weather conditions, the net weight of cereal harvests is still 11% higher than the average of the past five years.
Under Western sanctions, Russia not only solved the problem of food self-sufficiency, but also guaranteed national food security and regained the position of world wheat export hegemon. Putin hopes to achieve greater achievements in the agricultural sector and become “the locomotive of Russia’s economic development.” Some experts also regard agriculture as “the future of the Russian economy.”
In fact, the “rise up” of Russian agriculture is not an overnight success. The unique conditions for agricultural development and the long-term protection and support of the government for agriculture are the solid foundation for the “counterattack” of Russian agriculture in the past few years. Western sanctions have objectively accelerated the pace of optimization of Russia’s economic structure, stimulating and promoting the development of agriculture.
Russia is the only country in the world where all resources can be self-sufficient. Its cultivated land area is 142 million hectares, and the per capita cultivated area is 0.86 hectares, far higher than the world’s per capita arable land index. After Putin came to power in 2000, he regarded agriculture as an important area related to the national economy and people’s livelihood, and pointed out that “without the revival of Russian agriculture, there can be no revival of the Russian economy.”