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Farmers Should Look at Russia’s Successful Farm Policies 2014-24

Photo by Darla Hueske / Unsplash

The protests of farmers and their grassroots organizations across Europe are demanding that national economic policies support farms as going concerns, support their output and overall production of food for their populations, and enable farms to support the many other productive enterprises in the countryside.

They could raise the issue of the agricultural policies of the Russian Federation, and their results, since the EU sanctions against Russia began in 2014. Russia’s success story in agriculture was formulated and intended in Yevgeny Primakov’s brief period as premier in 1998-99, but not implemented until 2014. This brief and preliminary summary comes primarily from OECD reports and data from CEIC Data Company and

Before being hit with sanctions over its reunification with Crimea and allegations that it was intervening in the Donbass republics in 2014, Russia was about 50% import-dependent for food. In the decade since then, Russian government policy included:

1. Support to agricultural producers equivalent to 9-13% of gross farm income, depending on the year. This support is positively based on production, and on use of various inputs to improve yield. From 2014-23 the total value of subsidies increased by 75% in dollar equivalent. Gross farm income rose from approximately $78 billion equivalent in 2014 to over $100 billion equivalent in 2022.

2. Subsidies to food producers’ costs for railroad transport of production—first for grains, then extended to vegetables, soybeans, and other oil seeds.

3. From May 2020, supports also included subsidies of purchase of agricultural machinery and processing equipment; and increased capitalization of Rosagroleasing, the national company providing support for leasing the same.

4. President Vladimir Putin’s “food security doctrine” announced January 2020: The minimum share of domestic production of crops would be targeted, from a low of 60% (fruits, berries) to 90% (grains).

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