Wheat, a cereal grain, also a worldwide staple food used to make several edibles, is among the world's most popular crops.
Since 2016, Russia is the world's largest exporter of Wheat. According to a data annual wheat output was under 35 million MT two decades ago, which crossed around 70 million MT in the year 2016, and half of its volume was exported. A recent study stated climate change is the cause behind Russia’s increased wheat production.
The three largest exporters of wheat US, Europe, and Australia are projected to face a downfall in production. The global wheat market of the US expects to decrease from 15.4% to 13%. The European export market is likely to drop from 20% to 18% while the Australian market is projecting a 10% decline by the year 2027.
Various reasons support wheat production in Russia, such as higher temperatures during winters, which results in longer growing seasons. Russia’s growing season and frost-free days can be increased by 10 to 20 days per year. The presence of arable land in Russia can add 50 million acres of land to its 79 million acres of current production space. The geographic region of Russia allows easy and cheap transportation as it is located in Eastern Europe, enabling easy land transportation to Western Europe. The Black Sea border gives it sea access to the Middle East and North Africa. In Asia, trade and infrastructure projects like China’s BRI are overcoming its traditional transportation obstacles in the region. Factors such as cheaper oil, resulting in lower fuel costs and the weaker local currency, are also keeping Russian wheat price quite competitive in dollar terms.
In past Australia and the United States have been the significant suppliers of Wheat in China and Southeast Asia, but it's losing its market share to Russia due to higher transportation costs and shifts in climatic conditions. Asian demand for wheat is increasing due to population growth. 60% of the world's population lives in Asia, which is further expected to increase by 750 million till 2050, making way for higher demand in the future, which can widely be fulfilled by Russian wheat.
The middle east and North African region have been in contact with Russia for military intervention for a long time. Swiftly Russian wheat is making room in the MENA region, too, as it has the highest per capita wheat consumption. Due to domestic production complications because of water scarcity, drought, extreme heat, wheat imports are expected to increase by 130% & 140% in the region, respectively, by 2050, making a clear path for imports of Russian wheat.
Russia has managed to become the topmost exporter of wheat in the past two decades. Mild winters and willingness of farmers to grow the crop have led to this expansion. Analytics expects this trend to continue, surely making Wheat a geopolitical weapon for Russia