Russian agriculture

An overview
During its long history Russian agriculture has experienced several different periods. Some of them brought improvement, others – stagnation and food shortage. Today Russia has risen to one of the world´s top exporters of food products.

Here is a short overview of the recent development in Russian agriculture from our expert.
Hanspeter Rikli
Agronomist, farming consultant, guide and interpreter
Since 1991 Russian agriculture, as well as the whole country in general, has undergone big changes. The old structures were ruined and the economic performance of almost all sectors of agriculture had declined considerably. In the 90s many collective and co-operative farms went bankrupt. This led to unemployment in the country and serious social problems. People were leaving for cities, the dependence of Russia from the import of food products had grown significantly.

However, since about 2000 the reforms have started to pay off. In addition to this, several government special-purpose programs have been introduced to encourage the growth of agriculture. In 2002 a law was issued which allowed to sell and buy farm land.

All these steps, together with the reduced taxes and concessional lending subsidized by the government made the investment into the agricultural sector attractive. The rebirth of agriculture began.


The greatest success has been achieved in grain farming. Today Russia has become the biggest exporter of wheat worldwide. Agricultural holdings which farm tens of thousands of hectares using modern equipment dominate in this sector.

In animal farming the rate of development is slower, but it has also shown noticeable progress. Today, Russia almost completely satisfies its needs in poultry and pork.

As a result of the sanctions of 2014, milk and beef production has shown considerable growth.
The Russian answer to the sanctions was an import ban for western food products. This led to an increased demand for Russian food products and Russian producers could fill in the gap left by the banned import. At the same time, the Russian ruble lost part of its value against the dollar. This made Russian food exports competitive on the international markets.

Today, the Russian government has set itself the goal of transforming Russia during the next years into one of the leading food exporters of the world. Undoubtedly, the potential for this performance is there, not only in grain production, but also in meat production and other branches.

The structure of Russian agriculture is deeply diversified. Beside of large and medium-sized enterprises, there are still many small homesteads, which have produced a considerable part of food needs since Soviet times.

Family farms, as known in the West, have not succeeded in Russia. From about one million of private farms registered at the beginning of 90s only a small part could survive. However, among the survived there are quite a few farmers which have been able to grow and become large agricultural producers with effective areas of lands of several thousand hectares.

Therefore, no wonder that the technological equipment of the farms varies greatly - from manual work, which still traditionally prevails in the private sector, to the most up-to-date highly efficient equipment and modern technologies used in agro-holdings.
It is this variety and the presence of both the traditional and modern approach that makes Russian agriculture so fascinating and interesting.
© 2021 Smirenin Ltd. Image sources: own records, open sources, Igor Konovalov, Sergey Zhukov, partner farms.
This website uses cookies. By continuing to browse without changing the settings of your browser you agree to the use of cookies. Here you will find our privacy policy.