Russia increases export of grains and legumes to China

China is the most important market for Russian agricultural products.

In 2018, of the total Russian export of agricultural products, the share of supplies to China amounted to more than 8%.

True, grains and legumes are far from the main part of Russian exports to the Celestial Empire. Up to 60% is accounted for by seafood, a significant part — by meat.

Pulses are more difficult. Back in 1976, China imposed a ban on the import of such products from Russia (at that time the RSFSR).

And this despite the fact that then the Chinese were often starving. The reason for the ban is the reluctance of the Chinese authorities to depend on imports, especially to buy what can be produced on the territory of their country.

However, the population of China, as you know, has grown rapidly, so it became difficult for him to feed himself on his own.

Even the fact that the Chinese agricultural sector is also actively developing could not significantly improve the situation.

For example, grain harvest in 1978 was only 300 million tons, in 1999 — 500 million tons, and in 2019 — already 660 million.

The result of the rapid growth in consumption was the gradual lifting of bans on the import of agricultural products.

  1. 2015 — the import of wheat to China from the Novosibirsk, Omsk, Altai and Krasnoyarsk regions is allowed.
  2. 2018 — also from the Amur, Kurgan and Chelyabinsk regions.
  3. 2019 — removal of all restrictions on the supply of soybeans to China from all regions of the Russian Federation.

What are the prospects for trade with China?

In recent years, the volume of Russian agricultural imports to China has been steadily growing. In 2016, Russia sold him agricultural products worth $ 1.6 billion, in 2019 — already for $ 3.14 billion. This year, although it is not over yet, the sales volume exceeded $ 3.2 billion. That is, another record.

If we take January-October 2020, then during this time the volume of supplies exceeded last year’s level by a quarter.


Despite all this, Russian experts believe that today China still buys much less agricultural products from Russia than it could.

Dmitry Rylko, general director of the Institute for Agrarian Market Studies, is sure that 2-3 times growth is quite real here, and nothing prevents us from reaching the volume of supplies of $ 5 billion per year. This also applies to cereals (corn, wheat, barley).

Soy is one of the most important Russian-made products for China. So far, its production volume in the Russian Federation is relatively small: in 2019, 43 thousand centners were collected. But Chinese Commerce Minister Zhong Shan this year said that his country is very interested in soybeans and is ready to increase purchases.

Thus, the limit in the development of the Russian-Chinese trade in pulses has not yet been reached, and it promises great benefits for Russia.

Moreover, the Russian Federation receives indirect benefits even if China buys agricultural products from someone else

After all, the total annual volume of China’s purchases is so great that it «drains» the global agricultural market.

This means that the demand for legumes (including those from Russia) is growing. As well as their price.