ASSESSMENTS

A Blight on the Future of Russian Agriculture?

MIN READOct 20, 2016 | 09:15 GMT

Russia's wheat harvest in 2016-17 is expected to reach 72 million metric tons, the highest level in the country's post-Soviet history. Much of this yield, however, is of substandard quality -- bad news for Russia's export market.

(DANIL SEMYONOV/AFP/Getty Images)

Russia has had a tough couple of years. Between low oil prices, continued sanctions and long-standing structural problems in the Russian economy -- to say nothing of the country's involvement in Syria and Ukraine -- Moscow's budget is stretched thin. Combined with demographic decline and brain drain, Russia's budgetary constraints have hampered development across a variety of sectors in its economy. Through it all, though, the country's agricultural sector has proved remarkably hardy, having recovered from a low point after the fall of the Soviet Union. Production levels of numerous crops have grown over the past decade, and the government declared the agricultural industry exempt from budget cuts this year. But this trend belies the formidable hurdles that Russian agriculture will have to overcome....

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