22 Feb 2023 10:11

Russia has strong potential to further increase grain production - Grain Exporters Union

DUBAI. Feb 22 (Interfax) - Russia has substantial potential to further increase grain production by applying more fertilizer and cultivating unused land, the CEO of the Grain Exporters Union, Eduard Zernin said.

"The current record harvest was for some reason a surprise for some international experts, for which they do not see the preconditions. But we know these preconditions, they're quite simple - this season there was a restriction on fertilizer exports, more fertilizer made its way to the domestic market," Zernin on Tuesday said at an international grain forum that his association organized in Dubai.

"The dynamic of fertilizer consumption correlates directly with the amount of crop harvested. And, basically, the fact that more primary nutrients stayed inside the country lead to the growth of the harvest," he said.

Russia does not currently apply mineral fertilizers to fields in line with the scientifically based norm and experts estimate the application ratio at about 0.6, he said.

"Basically, one can calculate our potential simply based on current areas. If one also considers that we annually bring agricultural land back into use, then the potential is 2.5-3 times greater. This is a very substantial factor and we need to keep this in mind when we talk about ensuring the world's food security. We will work on this issue and the Agriculture Ministry is actively supporting this process, so, of course, we have a very substantial reserve of competitiveness," Zernin said.

Russia harvested a record 153.8 million tonnes of grain in 2022, including 104.4 million tonnes of wheat, according to tentative data from the Federal Statistics Service.