News / Europe

    Russian Farmers on Track to Increase Food Exports

    An airplane treats winter wheat crops with chemicals to kill destructive insects in the town of Mozdok in North Ossetia, Russia, June 8, 2011
    An airplane treats winter wheat crops with chemicals to kill destructive insects in the town of Mozdok in North Ossetia, Russia, June 8, 2011

    Multimedia

    James Brooke

    With food demand leaping in China and India, Russia has the potential to emerge as a new world food power. But first, Russian farmers need to overcome years of decline.

    One hundred years ago, Czarist Russia was the breadbasket of Europe, and the American John Deere company was selling horse-drawn plows to Russian farmers.

    Fast forward a century, and John Deere is back in Russia. This time, selling $250,000  harvest combines complete with air-conditioned cabs.

    Tremendous potential

    Alexey Berlin supervises the assembly of tractors and combines at John Deere’s new factory south of Moscow. He said given Russia’s vast territory, agriculture has huge potential.

    Russia has 10 percent of the world’s fresh water and arable land, and only two percent of the world’s population. But in the 20 years since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the amount of land being farmed in Russia has shrunk by one third.  

    Russia, the world’s-largest nation by territory, survives on food imports.

    Increasing wheat yields

    Today, Russian wheat yields are at the level American farm yields were in the 1930s. But gradually, Russian farmers are adopting better seeds, better fertilizers, and more efficient machinery. The John Deere factory patio has more than 100 new combines awaiting shipment to Russian farmers.

    John Deere manager for Russia, Joe Barrett, believes the country will play a key role in meeting world food needs.

    “We have got an expected increase in world population that will be upon us in 2050 with an increase to 9 billion people," he said. "All of them will be fed. All of them deserve to be fed. That means agriculture productivity is going to have to increase dramatically. We think Russia has a terrific opportunity to help fill that void.”

    Last year, when a drought pushed Russia to suspend grain exports, food prices spiked to record highs around the world, fueling food riots in poor countries and some say the street revolts of the Arab Spring.

    Raising production

    This year, however, Russian farmers planted for a bumper crop on a land area larger than the U.S. state of California.

    Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has ordered the resumption of Russian grain exports on July 1. This is expected to ease bread prices around the world.

    The head of agricultural research at Renaissance Capital investment bank in Moscow, Natalia Zagvozdina, said Russia could expand its harvests to meet world demand.

    "If we only had the capital to put all the previously cultivated land back to work, we could have increased the output by 50 percent, easily," said Zagvozdina. "That is easier said than done.”

    Trends are looking up, though. During the Soviet days, Russia was a wheat importer. This year, it is targeted to become the world’s third-largest wheat exporter, after Canada and the United States.

    You May Like

    US, Somalia Launch New Chapter in Relations

    US sends first ambassador to Somalia in 25 years; diplomatic presence and forces pulled out in 1993, after 18 US soldiers were killed when militiamen shot down military helicopter

    Brexit Vote Ripples Across South Asia

    Experts say exit is likely to have far-reaching economic, political and social implications for a region with deep historic ties to Britain

    Russian Military Tests Readiness With Snap Inspections

    Some observers see surprise drill as tit-for-tat response to NATO’s recent multinational military exercises in Baltic region

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Testing Bamboo as Building Materiali
    X
    June 27, 2016 9:06 PM
    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapides’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora