In 2015, Russian agricultural producers exported $20 billion worth of food goods, growing by 15 percent compared to the previous year.
Battered by lower commodity prices and credit crunch, Russia can count at least one advantage of having a devalued national currency: soaring agricultural trade with China. Rusagro started exporting sunflower oil to China last year. While overall Russian exports to China dropped 23.5% in the first six months of this year, agricultural exports are up 33% in value terms in the second quarter and up almost 80% in volume.
New investors are appearing, a growing number of Chinese delegations have been visiting Russia in search of agricultural land for sale or lease. More fundamentally, there are questions over how Russia’s thinly populated Far East, with a population of just 5m, interacts next to more than 100m people in north-east China without compromising its interests. Moscow considers it a matter of national security to make sure its vast expanses of largely empty land in eastern Siberia will not become a resources appendix for China.