October 21, 2008

 

Russia may become world's second largest grain exporter
 
 

Russia, the world's third largest grain exporter, could become the second largest exporter after the US, according to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

 

Annual Russian grain output could increase to a theoretical maximum of 126 million tonnes should unfarmed land be brought back into production and various other conditions be fulfilled, allowing Russia to become the second largest grain exporter after the US, the bank said.

 

This year, Russian grain production is projected to reach at least 96 million tonnes, although Russia's Agriculture Ministry has estimated gross grain harvest to reach 100-102 million tonnes.

 

It is believed that if Russia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine could use some of the 23 million hectares of arable land left unfarmed in recent years, these countries would be able to make a huge contribution for global grain demand.

 

According to the bank, it has been said that at least 13 million hectares could be returned to production at no major environmental cost, with Russia accounting for 6 million hectares alone.

 

The EBRD has so far invested over EUR 1 billion (US$1.32 billion) in Russia, which financed more than 40 agribusiness projects in the country.