Russia's Minister of Agriculture, Dmitry Patrushev, has predicted that the country's grain harvest in 2023 could exceed 123mn tonnes, including 78mn tonnes of wheat, significantly less than last year’s all-time record harvest.
The projection is based on the fact that the sowing campaign in Russia is going well, and all Russian regions are expected to start working the fields by mid-May.
Patrushev stated that spring field work is already underway in 50 regions, and based on the plan, taking into account new regions, the total cultivated area in 2023 will exceed 85mn hectares. He added that this will allow Russia to fully guarantee national food security while continuing supplies to overseas partners in the declared volumes.
Last year’s harvest of 153mn tonnes of grain, including 104.2mn tonnes of wheat, according to RosStat, smashed all records (chart), including those from the Soviet era. But coupled with the sanctions-related restrictions on shipping Russian goods, farmers have been left with silos full to bursting and worry the millions of tonnes of grain will simply rot in the silos if restrictions on shipping that are hampering exports are not lifted.
This year the harvest is in line with Russia's continued efforts to develop its agriculture sector and increase its agricultural exports. The country has set a target of becoming the world's top wheat exporter by 2028, with plans to expand its wheat exports to 50mn tonnes per year (tpy). This year the Ministry is predicting total grain exports of 60mn tonnes, of which about half is wheat.
To achieve this goal, Russia has been investing heavily in its agriculture sector and implementing policies to improve productivity and efficiency. These efforts include the introduction of new technologies, the development of new varieties of crops and the expansion of the cultivated area.
In recent years, Russia's agricultural exports have been steadily increasing. Russia is already one of the world's largest exporters of wheat, corn and soybeans. In 2020, Russia's agricultural exports reached a record-breaking $30bn, with wheat exports alone accounting for more than $8bn.