Russia's Basic National Conditions and Agricultural Development
release time:2020-06-12 20:54 source:Shanghai Coorperation Organization Countries Regional Agricultural Cooperation Network

Basic National Conditions

Russia is rich in land resources. It has one of the world's largest agricultural land areas, and the world's largest black soil belt. In the 220 million hectares of agricultural land, about 1.34 hectares are cultivated land, accounting for about 8% of the world's arable land. Its arable land per capita reaches 0.84 hectares in coverage, which is four times higher than the global average, ranking among the top five in the world. In addition, Russia has 72.6 million hectares of grassland and pasture. Although Russia's land resources are very rich, the distribution is not balanced. The actual land used for agricultural production is only half of its arable land. A large area of arable land remains uncultivated, so there is huge potential for its land resources development. The main agricultural production areas in Russia can be divided into five parts according to the regions: 1. The southern Far East and the agricultural region of eastern Siberia. Meadows and grey forest soil are the main components of the soil in this area. With rye, oat and wheat as the main crops, its livestock production is secondary in this area.2. Southern Siberian agricultural region. This region includes the northeast of the volga River basin, the south of the Ural region and the south of Western Siberia. This region is dominated by chernozem and chestnut soils with higher fertility and is one of the main animal husbandry bases in Russia. 3. The agricultural area in the black Sea coast subtropical region. This region is located in  the Black Sea coastal region of western Transccaucasian, and its agricultural specialization level is high. 4. The agricultural region in the northwest. This region is the main production area of grain, cow, flax and potato in Russia. It belongs to the non-black soil area and has great agricultural production potential and rich land resources. 5.Agricultural region in the western Russian. The region is located in the European forest steppe area. Its main soil is black soil with high fertility. It is the main production area of sugar beet, grain and animal husbandry. It is one of the most important agricultural and animal husbandry production areas in Russia.

Agricultural Production

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russian agriculture experienced all kinds of difficulties. Since 2000, Russian economy began to improve, but the growth rate of agricultural production is only 1% to 1.5%. Agriculture is an important basic industry of Russian national economy, but Russian agricultural development has long lagged behind other agricultural powers in the world. Since the beginning of the new century, with the improvement of the national macro economy, Russia's agriculture has turned the corner, and relevant agricultural indicators have also been increasing. From the macro perspective, the proportion of Russian agriculture in the national economy is still not high, but it is showing a rising trend. From the micro perspective, thanks to land privatization, Russia's agricultural production organization has undergone a qualitative change, showing a better structure, a higher efficiency and more specialized regional distribution.

Restricted by natural conditions, Russia's crop sector is small, crop structure is relatively simple and the yield is very unstable. 90% of grain yield comes from four crops: Wheat is an important grain crop, and its sown area accounts for more than half of the grain sown area; Barley accounts for about a fifth of grain production, followed by oats and rye; In addition, there is a small amount of rice and corn. Cash crops account for about 11 percent of the total cultivated area, and they mainly include sunflowers, flax and sugar beets. Among them, sunflowers are the largest oil crop, with a planting area of about 8 million hectares, accounting for 8% of the total cultivated land area. Potatoes and vegetables account for 3.8% of the total cultivated area. Potatoes are both food crops and feed crops, occupying a prominent position. Even in the era of economic crisis, its yield maintained above 30 million tons.

The animal husbandry of Russia occupies a very important position in its national economy. It is a agricultural sector parallel to the planting industry, but compared with the planting industry, the development of animal husbandry is relatively stable. The rich grassland resources in Russia have created the most favorable conditions for the development of animal husbandry, whose output value even exceeds that of planting. The Russian government encourages the development of animal husbandry in combination with planting industry, thus agricultural areas have become the bases for animal husbandry. Russia's animal husbandry gives priority to raising cattle, pigs, sheep, birds and horses. According to the characteristics of the animal husbandry in different regions, animal husbandry in Russia can be divided into two categories, which include livestock farming in agricultural region and pasture husbandry in deserts, semi-deserts and mountains. The former is mainly distributed in the western region and southern Siberia where the planting industry is well-developed. It mainly raises cattle and pigs. The latter is mainly distributed in central Asia and the southern region of the Volga River, with sheep farming as the main industry and cattle farming as the auxiliary.

Agricultural Technology

Russia boasts of great research and development of agricultural science and technology. Due to Russia's vast territory, there are huge differences in its soil climate conditions, and it is difficult to implement unified standards and technologies in growing crops. For each specific soil climatic zone, specific planting standards and techniques shall be developed according to local conditions. As a result, the Russian Academy of Agricultural Sciences has set up branches in all parts of the country, with about 100000 people engaged in the research and development of agricultural science and technology. The Academy has 23 academicians and 28 corresponding academicians. They are all assigned to its various affiliated institutes. The Academy has 63 breeding centers, 8 biotechnology centers and technology centers, 28 design institutes, 405 experimental farms and 53 experimental industrial enterprises, with an area of 185,000 square kilometers and hundreds of thousands of fine breeding animals in experimental pastures. These experimental bases have achieved outstanding results, with the field yield per unit area 50% higher than the surrounding farms and the livestock product rate 20%~30% higher.

Russia's agricultural and food production has been increasing over the past decade, but its investment in technology remains far less than that of its rivals because of low demand for new technologies. Russia's Research and Technology Organization (RTO) is an important channel for the promotion of new technologies to agriculture and food producers and a major source of public financing. Nonetheless, rather than translating public money into better technology promotion, agricultural research organizations focus on government-funded basic research. Russian agricultural producers tend to be passive towards the introduction of new technologies (such as precision agricultural technology, formula fertilization, integrated pest control), and consumers also show conservative demand patterns. From 2010 to 2015, investment in agricultural machinery and equipment in Russia increased by 120% in real terms, and reached $8.5 billion. The proportion of Russia's agricultural machinery imports fell from 76 per cent to 46 per cent from 2013 to 2016. Nevertheless, the elimination rate of Russian agricultural machinery equipment is still slightly higher than the renewal rate.

 Agricultural Policies

In 2005, Russia included agriculture as one of its four key areas of future development, and regarded it as a core element alongside housing, health care and education. In order to alleviate the severe situation of continuous decline of agricultural production, the Russian government has adopted many agricultural policies to restore agricultural production. For example, in order to promote the development of agriculture towards large-scale operation, a series of laws and regulations such as The Land Code of the Russian Federation and The Law on the Circulation of Agricultural Land have been formulated to support the production requirements of concentration of land capital and land. In order to support domestic agricultural development, Russia has implemented given large sums of subsidies to the agricultural sector. The agricultural subsidy policies implemented by Russia mainly include domestic support policy of agricultural subsidies, market access policy of agricultural products and export subsidy policy of agricultural products. At the same time, the Russian government has further strengthened its support for agriculture from various aspects, such as fiscal budget, unified tax law, strengthening preferential credit for agricultural development, supporting development of crop insurance, strengthening market regulation of agricultural products, promotion of agricultural mechanization, and supporting the innovation and popularization of agricultural science and technology.

Russia's agricultural trade policies and measures mainly include tariff policy, quota management, trade barriers and restrictive measures, inspection and quarantine. 1. Tariff policy. After joining the WTO, Russia reduced its import tariffs and restricted export tariffs, with the overall tariff level dropping from 10% in 2011 to 7.8%. Tariffs on beef, pork, poultry and some whey products remain the same. 2. Quota management, trade barriers and restrictions. In order to protect its own interests, Russia has set up green barriers. In Russia, the relevant laws and regulations about agricultural products import are complex and changeable, and the certification system is cumbersome. In terms of commodity certification, it does not adopt international standards and only adopts Russian standards. Different commodities have different standards for certification, so the procedures are very cumbersome. In order to reduce the negative impact of foreign competition on domestic agricultural production and ensure national food security, the Russian government regulates the import of agricultural products by setting special import tariffs, adopting special protective measures and anti-dumping measures. 3. Inspection and quarantine policies. In addition to tariff protection, Russia restricts imports on the excuse of plant quarantine, animal disease and technical reasons. According to Russian laws, only meat products produced by exporting enterprises whose processing, treatment and storage facilities have been inspected and approved by the Russian Federal Veterinary and Phytosanitary Supervision Bureau can be exported to Russia, and the relevant inspection costs shall be borne by exporting enterprises.