25 Dec 2023 13:35

Russia to have clean weight grain harvest of at least 142 mln tonnes in 2023 - minister

MOSCOW. Dec 25 (Interfax) - Russia will have a clean weight grain harvest of at least 142 million tonnes in 2023, Agriculture Minister Dmitry Patrushev said.

"We'll have the second biggest grain harvest in our history. According to our estimates, the gross harvest will be at least 142 million tonnes in clean weight. This will make it possible not only to supply the domestic market with room to spare, but also to send significant volumes of grain to foreign partners," Patrushev said in an interview with the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper.

Russia harvested 157.7 million tonnes of grain in 2022.

Patrushev singled out durum wheat, which is used to produce premium pasta. This harvest has been fairly good for the second year in a row, with 1.6 million tonnes expected. "This type of wheat has mainly been used for milling inside the country. However, this season we have seen quite a surge of interest from foreign buyers - more than 900,000 tonnes were exported by December 10. This is significantly more than in previous years," he said. "But the domestic market is our priority, as you know. So the government has imposed a temporary ban on exports of durum wheat, until the end of May next year, to provide our milling industry with sufficient grain," he said.

The ministry has asked for the crop area for durum wheat to be expanded further and harvest increased to 2 million tonnes in 2024 both to saturate the domestic market and to create good export potential.

Patrushev also said the oilseed harvest would be about 28 million tonnes in 2023. He mentioned soybeans, the harvest of which will reach 6.7 million tonnes for the first time. "In the coming years, we plan to reach 7 million-8 million tonnes, enabling us to start ramping up exports," he said. "In addition, according to forecasts, we will harvest more rice, buckwheat and grain legumes than last year. The potato harvest will be the best for 30 years at 8.6 million tonnes," Patrushev said.

The sugar beet harvest was 52.2 million tonnes "and so we'll produce about 7 million tonnes of sugar this agricultural year and not only meet our own needs and form a good carryover stock for the next season, but also supply it to our partner countries," he said.

The rice harvest was around 1.1 million tonnes, almost 20% more than last year. "Domestic consumption is about 1.5 million tonnes, so in any case we have room to grow. We will do this through the development of land improvement to expand areas not only in the Krasnodar Territory, but also in other regions, in particular Astrakhan," Patrushev said. "We are now looking at a major program to transfer some state land improvement systems to businesses as concession holders to develop rice growing. This will increase the inflow of investment in this area," he said.

Patrushev said rice was also a very interesting export product with a lot of potential in Southeast Asia. "There's huge consumption there, and water resources are limited. I think that in the future Russian rice will be able to occupy a good niche in this region's market," he said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said during the Year in Review program that there would be a clean weight grain harvest of more than 146 million tonnes in 2023.