Russia’s Flourishing Agriculture Overtakes Its Arms Industry in Exports

In 2017 for the first time in many decades Russia again sold more more foodstuffs than weapons

Bloomberg reports Russian food exports rose by a whopping 25 percent in a single year. The largest culprit are wheat exports which have been rising steadily since 2013:

Russian food exports are skyrocketing thanks to the world’s appetite for the country’s wheat.

Food shipments from the Black Sea nation jumped 25 percent last year, the most since 2012, to $19 billion, according to the Russian Export Center. The record amount was mostly due to exports of wheat and frozen fish, while sugar volumes also surged.

The world’s top wheat shipper has been grabbing more of the market in recent years as it offloads bumper harvests at attractive prices, and exports are set to cap another record this season. About half the world’s countries buy wheat from Russia, which is trying to cut its dependence on agricultural imports after it banned purchases of some western foods in retaliation to sanctions.

Energy still accounts for nearly half of sales Russia makes abroad, consequentially the $19 billion in foodstuffs is no more than 6-7% of Russian total exports. But seen from a different perspective: Russia’s arms have held steady at $15 billion per annum for a few years now.

That means Russia’s agricultural sector now sells more goods abroad than its vast and highly-developed defense industry. Quite the turnaround from Communist days when Soviets were forced to import grain from US and Canada – and get in debt to do it.