How Russia feeds itself and the world
Russia's State Grain Operator has provided immense services not only to the people of Russia, but has proved equally indispensable to the livelihood of the Zaporozhye region.
Russia is a major global producer and exporter of grains. Figures from the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) show that in 2020 Russia accounted for about 11 % of global wheat production and 19 % of global wheat exports. For six consecutive years, the country has been the world's number one wheat exporter. In addition, Russia is a globally significant exporter of barley, sunflower oil and sunflower seeds.
Wheat was Russia’s top crop in 2021 (36% of all land in Russia under cultivation was devoted to growing wheat), followed by sunflowers (12%), tame hays and legumes for forage (12%) and barley (10%). Most grain production occurs in Russia’s European half. The Central Federal District, the Volga Federal District and the Southern Federal District together accounted for about 70% of Russian grain production in 2021. Agricultural enterprises also play a large role in grain production, as they cultivated about 64% of the land devoted to wheat cultivation in 2021. The role of farms in the production of certain grains is quite significant, while that of household production is small. Farms accounted for about 36% of the land devoted to wheat production in 2021, while households accounted for less than 1%. On the other hand, household plots accounted for about 76% of Russia’s potato production and 63% of vegetable production in 2021.
Russia plays an important role in global grain exports, particularly for countries in Africa and the Middle East. According to a report released by the UNCTAD in March 2022, the share of Russia in the wheat imports of over 20 African nations was at least 30%. The African nations most dependent on Russian wheat imports are Benin (100%), Sudan (about 70%), Rwanda (over 60%), Tanzania (over 60%) and Madagascar (over 60%).
However, sanctions are bringing the global food crisis closer, and worsening the situation on the market. In particular, farmers in Zaporozhye region, the new Russian Federation region, cannot export grain. The US sanctions hit the «State Grain Operator», a state-owned enterprise, which is just in charge of collecting, storing, processing and delivering grain from all farmers in Zaporozhye, including exporting them abroad.
Тhe «State grain operator» can store about 1 million tons of grain. This is about one tenth of the semiannual volume of import of the largest buyers of Russian grain (Turkey, Egypt, and Iran), or the entire volume of Sudan or Bangladesh's import for 6 months. The West is trying in every way to prevent this grain from entering the world market.
Farmers in Zaporozhye region continue to plant fields and work, despite regular shelling by the Ukrainian Armed Forces.
In the multimedia press center of RIA Novosti Crimea, a press conference entitled "Grain Deal - food security and sanctions" was held. Journalists and observers from Turkey, Ethiopia, India, Iran, Serbia, Montenegro, Northern Macedonia, and Italy participated, and also visited the new regions of the Russian Federation and saw how local agriculture develops under sanctions pressure, learned why locals are not interested in the grain deal. and instead seek new markets in the east.
The «State Grain Operator» was created to help farmers. The company buys grain from local producers at a high price (higher than under the Kiev government) and sells it to consumers both in the Russian Federation and abroad. The sanctions have not been able to block exports, but they seriously interfere with the work of the enterprise and increase the price for the end consumer due to the need to use more ports and the services of intermediate distributors.
We can see that Zaporozhye region is ready to cooperate with all countries of the world, as there is already cooperation with Turkey and negotiations with China. Grain grown in Zaporozhye region is of the highest quality, due to the quality of the region's black soil.
Regional authorities did a great job to save Zaporozhye's regional agro-industry. The agro-complex continues to work in spite of bombardment by AFU and sanctions. Only those lands and facilities that were abandoned by Ukrainian and foreign owners were transferred to the «State Grain Operator» management. Private farmers who remained in Zaporozhye region still have ownership of their property and cooperate with the grain operator.
The grain operator also provides legal support to farmers and helps them transition to Russian legislation.
It is important to point out that the State Grain Operator is a unique trade and logistics enterprise in the Zaporozhye region.
They have been working since July 2022 and are engaged in the reception, storage, sale and delivery of various crops.
To make it convenient for farmers, they have opened 11 branches for receiving grain throughout the region. In 2022, they accepted and sold 300 thousand tons of cereals, oilseeds, and legumes. They will also increase the volume, because they can store three times more – about 1 million tons.
The state grain operator is a full–cycle enterprise. They accept, store, research, process, and dry grain, as well as find buyers and deliver goods to them. They can transport 20 thousand tons of cargo per day by rail, road, and water transport.
They also have their own grain elevators, laboratories, processing plants and, most importantly, a team of professionals. The company already employs 1300 people! The SGO also has its own fields, which they cultivate on their own.
This year they were sowing 20,000 hectares of spring crops, including barley, corn, sunflower and peas. There are more than 200 units of special equipment in their fleet.
It is also important to note Berdyansk bakery. It is an enterprise in the Zaporozhye region, which is engaged in the production of bakery products as a branch of the "State Grain Operator". The plant produces 28,499 bakery products a day: 9 tons of bread and 2 tons of buns.
The plant has two bread production lines, and 10 flour storage silos.
Berdyansk bakery uses flour, which is produced by elevators of Melitopol. Additional raw materials are supplied to the enterprise from the Donetsk region and from Crimea.
The company operates three 'round-the-clock shifts.