The structure of Russian agricultural exports has been transformed over the last year to mirror stronger external demand for domestically produced meat, sugar and oilseeds in addition to grains and fish, according to RusAg’s Centre for Industry Expertise.
Russia has used the last five years to diversify its exports and expand the traditional list of its food export staples (such as grains, oilseeds, oil-and-fat and fish products) with dynamically growing exports of livestock farming products as well as some crop farming products.
‘Over the last five years, Russian sugar exports have been rising at an average annual rate of 128 per cent per year, pork exports 96 per cent, rapeseeds and sunflower seeds exports 75 per cent and 70 per cent respectively and poultry meat exports 41 per cent per year,’ said Andrei Dalnov, Head of RusAg’s Centre for Industry Expertise.
Among other reasons, Russia is ramping up its agricultural exports because its domestic food market has reached a saturation point. As an example, Russians are now consuming more meat than before: 2019 levels of consumption of 77 kg per capita by carcass weight may well be expected to rise to 78-79 kg over the next few years. Further growth will largely be bolstered by an increase in non-mass meat production (such as turkey, duck and mutton).
In 2020, Russia’s exports of sugar, oilseeds and meat totalled USD 3.4 billion, 11 per cent of its total agricultural exports, which climbed to USD 30 billion for the first time in 2020. The key export categories at the end of last year were the traditional grains, fish and oil-and-fat products. 2020 exports of grains shot up to USD 10.3 billion from USD 7.9 billion a year before, fish and crustaceans to USD 4.7 billion whereas exports in the Fats, Oils and Waxes category rocketed by 25 per cent to USD 4.3 billion.
Last year, Russia had more than 150 countries as its food export destinations. China remains the largest importer, stepping up imports from Russia at an average rate of 24 per cent per year over the last five years and now consuming 13 per cent of all Russian exports. It is closely followed by Turkey, Russia’s second largest export partner (10 per cent of exports), with Kazakhstan and Egypt coming third and fourth (7 per cent) and South Korea fifth (6 per cent).
‘Last year was unique in many ways as currency fluctuations and other countries’ close focus on securing food reserves throughout the pandemic boosted demand for Russian food products. This year, as the global economy recovers, the Russian rouble may gain in strength while an emotional surge in global demand for food staples will probably tail off,’ added Andrei Dalnov.
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