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Stephen Wegren pens article for Newsroom: “War threatens food security in Russia and beyond”


Stephen K. Wegren is Distinguished University Professor and Professor of Political Science, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas, USA. His most recent books are The Food Revolution in Russia: The Transformation of the Food System (Routledge, 2021) and Russia’s Role in the Contemporary International Agri-Food Trade System (Palgrave Macmillan, 2022). Wegren declared no conflicts of interest in relation to this article.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has imperilled its plans for increased grain yields and higher-value exports, writes Stephen K. Wegren in part one in a series on global food insecurity 

Since 2014 Russia has pursued two primary goals in its food policy. Domestically, it has strived for food security through import substitution and self-sufficiency in several basic commodities. Internationally, it has strived to increase the value and volume of its food exports, especially wheat and other grains. The war in Ukraine threatens both goals.

Russia had already started its sowing campaign in the south before the war. In 2021 it planted 80.4 million hectares, and it intended to plant 81.3 million hectares in 2022, 29.5 million of which would be occupied by wheat. After the invasion of Ukraine, the Russian government allocated 25 billion roubles in subsidised credit to facilitate a successful sowing season, in addition to an original 28 billion roubles in short-term credit.