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

Video Protests Continue in Ferguson, Spread to Other US Cities

Missouri officials say deployment of more than 2,000 National Guard soldiers helps curb second night of rampant arson and looting in Midwestern town More

Video Ebola, Crackdown on Illegals Hit Business in Guangzhou

Chinese city has largest community of Africans in Asia More

Video Legendary Lebanese Actress, Singer Sabah Dies at 87

Music and film diva, affectionately called 'Sabbouha' by millions of her fans, performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, Royal Albert Hall in London, Olympia in Paris, Sydney Opera House in Sydney More

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.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid