CIS countries continue prominence in grain production

By Neil Merrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Soviet union Russia

Despite uncertainty regarding European grain production, three
countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) are
becoming increasingly vital suppliers to the world market.

The strength of Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan's yields combined have seen the CIS become one of the worlds leading wheat producers, with figures in 2003 seeing an output of over 25m tones - the highest recorded in that particular year.

Formed between its twelve members in 1991 following the end of the Soviet Union; the CIS just two years later had managed to establish an economic union between its participants.

The union was setup to help promote relatively open trade with each other, by sharing goods, workforces and regulations for financial affairs, and appears to be paying dividends.

In a report for world-grain.com​, it is estimated that up to 20 per cent of wheat supplied to North Africa and the Middle-East now comes from the CIS. The same report also suggested that the CIS produced almost 50 per cent of the barley for the North African and Middle-East markets as well.

Despite it current success as a major player in world agriculture however, the CIS has spent many of its formative years struggling financially with its industrial and agricultural legacy.

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, a decline in investment occurred, which was particularly apparent in farming infrastructure where production levels faltered. A USDA report noted the post Soviet Union land reforms saw "large drops in production as subsidies were eliminated, but no corresponding rise in output"​.

With figures by the CIS Statistical Information department charting a steady growth in the average GDP of the CIS by almost 25 per cent in the last five years alone, it is clear that the patterns have reversed drastically - and appear to be continuing that way.

With industry predictions suggesting a rise of up to 30 per cent of the North African and Middle Eastern wheat markets coming form the CIS, it appears that their prominence in the world grain market is set to continue.

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