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Eastern breadbasket obstructs its market and growth opportunities


IAMO Policy Brief 16 publishes latest findings

With almost 100 million tons per annum and a combined share of nearly 15 per cent in global wheat production Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan rank among the major grain nations. The enormous land and yield potentials of those countries have earned them considerable importance for world grain markets and thus global food supplies.

Their growth opportunities, however, are severely inhibited not only by the current turmoil after the Russian-Ukrainian conflict but notably by problematic trade and market policies, a low level of production reserve usage and significant deficits in marketing infrastructures. In Policy Brief 16 IAMO researchers illustrate by means of their findings which production and market potentials can be expected in the grain industries of Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan and which obstacles the Eastern agricultural producers are facing.

In the past few years Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan have established themselves as key players in the international grain market on the strength of positive developments in wheat production. Their per-hectare yields, however, are still less than half of average yields on Western European farmland. Current IAMO calculations indicate that appropriate measures, such as recultivation of recently set-aside land could increase wheat production in Russia alone by up to 50 million tons per annum. Yet, the mobilization of such production and export potentials decisively depends on the future production and competitive conditions as well as political framework conditions.

Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan intervened in grain markets over the last decade with a series of export restrictions in response to rising world market grain prices. Such state interventions led to considerable market uncertainty, the virtual cessation of exports and a malfunction of controlled price formation. The IAMO researchers point out that such populistic trade and market policies will reduce investment incentives in the grain industry in the medium and long term and thus counteract market functionality.

To this adds that productivity and yield potentials in transition countries are exhausted only slightly or with large regional differences due to persistent productivity gaps. Investment and management deficits are hampering farm growth and efficient utilization of entrepreneurial resources. There is also a massive investment and modernization deficits in marketing infrastructures, such as warehousing, inland transport and port capacities, which obstructs market transactions and export opportunities.

‘In view of these circumstances, it cannot be expected that Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan will be capable of realizing their market and growth potentials in the foreseeable future. Urgent prerequisite for their realization is prioritization of market-conforming and export-friendly policies as well as investments into spatial and farm infrastructures’, explains IAMO director Thomas Glauben.

The IAMO Policy Brief 16 titled ‘Eastern breadbasket obstructs its market and growth opportunities’ is available for downloading free of charge in English, German and Russian languages at:

IAMO Policy Briefs

The publication series IAMO Policy Brief is published at irregular intervals and provides a platform for research findings and outcomes of the Institute of Agricultural Development in Central and Eastern Europe (IAMO) with social relevance to be communicated accessibly and entertainingly to a broad audience. Key target groups include political decision-makers, mass media representatives and the general public.

About IAMO

The Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies (IAMO) analyses economic, social and political processes of change in the agricultural and food sector, and in rural areas. The geographic focus covers the enlarging EU, transition regions of Central, Eastern and South Eastern Europe, as well as Central and Eastern Asia. IAMO is making a contribution towards enhancing understanding of institutional, structural and technological changes. Moreover, IAMO is studying the resulting impacts on the agricultural and food sector as well as the living conditions of rural populations. The outcomes of our work are used to derive and analyze strategies and options for enterprises, agricultural markets and politics. Since its foundation in 1994, IAMO has been part of the Leibniz Association, a German community of independent research institutes.

Please note that since the beginning of this year the Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Central and Eastern Europe is renamed Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies. The acronym IAMO is still valid.

Media contact

Daniela Schimming
Public Relations
Tel.: +49 345 2928-330
Fax: +49 345 2928-499

Daniela Schimming | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

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