Russia is a globally significant grain producer and exporter, but the Russian dacha, or summer house, still produces the lion’s share of vegetables and potatoes.
According to the statistics of the UN food and agriculture organization FAO, Russia's share of world wheat production was about 11% in 2020. Russia's share of global wheat exports was 19% and Russia was the world's largest exporter of wheat. In addition, Russia is a globally significant exporter of barley, sunflower oil and sunflower seeds, the Bank of Finland institute for Emerging Economies (BOFIT) reports in its weekly update.
The most important crops in Russia in 2021 were wheat (cultivated area was 36% of the country's total cultivated area), sunflower (12%), perennial fodder grasses (12%) and barley (10%).
Grain production is strongly concentrated in the European part of the country. In 2021, the Central Federal District, the Volga Federal District and the Southern Federal District accounted for approximately 70% of Russia's grain production.
Agricultural companies play a big role in grain production, because in 2021 they cultivated, for example, about 64% of the cultivated area of wheat.
The role of agricultural entrepreneurs is moderately large in several grains, and that of households is small, because in 2021, agricultural entrepreneurs in Russia, for example, cultivated about 36% of the cultivated area of wheat, and households less than 1%.
However, the overwhelming majority of fresh vegetables are growing at the dacha: households produced 76% of potatoes and 63% of vegetables in 2021. Remarkably in 2020 Russia’s potato production surged as during lockdown many Russians chose to sit out the pandemic at the dacha and passed the time by gardening.
Russia plays an important role as a grain exporter, especially in the Middle East and Africa. Based on the UNCTAD report published in March 2022, there are more than 20 countries in Africa whose wheat imports come from Russia for at least 30%.
In Africa, the countries most dependent on Russian wheat imports are Benin (100%), Sudan (around 70%), Rwanda (over 60%), Tanzania (over 60%) and Madagascar (over 60%). In addition, many countries in the Middle East and Africa import a lot of grain from Ukraine.
During the war in Ukraine, Russia has hindered Ukraine's grain exports by blocking the use of Ukraine's Black Sea ports. The Ukrainian authorities estimate at the beginning of June 2022 that Russia has also stolen 500,000 tonnes of grain from Ukraine, the monetary value of which would be 100mn. dollars.