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Russia's Transition to Major Player in World Agricultural Markets

  • Agricultural Science


choices-volume24-number2.indd The magazine of food, farm, and resource issues ©1999–2009 CHOICES. All rights reserved. Articles may be reproduced or electronically distributed as long as attribution to Choices and the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association is maintained. Choices subscriptions are free and can be obtained through 2nd Quarter 2009 • 24(2) CHOICES 47 AAEA Agricultural & Applied Economics Association A publication of the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association Russia’s Transition to Major Player in World Agricultural Markets William M . Liefert, Olga Liefert, and Eugenia Serova JEL Classifications: F14, P33, Q17 Russia’s importance in world agricultural markets has grown substantially during the 2000s, on both the demand and supply sides. The two main developments are that ag- ricultural imports have surged and the country has become a large grain exporter. From 2000 to 2008, Russia’s agricultural imports grew from $7 billion to $33 billion, making the country the second largest agricultural importer among emerging mar- kets, after China (Figure 1). The main imports are meats, processed foods, fruits, and vegetables. On the export side, over 2001–08, Russia’s net annual grain exports have av- eraged 9 million metric tons (mmt; Table 1). In market- ing year 2008/09, Russia is predicted to export 20 mmt of grain (net), and Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan collec- tively about 48 mmt of grain onto the world market (FAS). Russia’s status as a big meat importer and grain exporter is a reversal of its agricultural production and trade during the Soviet period when Russia, and the Soviet Union as a whole, was a heavy producer of meats and large importer of grains and oilseeds (Table 1). During the 1980s, the Soviet Union imported an average of 34 mmt of grain per year. The region’s switch from annual grain importer of 34 mmt to grain exporter of 48 mmt in 2008/09 is a huge shift of over 80 mmt toward

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