Russia, one of the world’s top wheat exporters, will harvest its third-largest grain crop in post-Soviet history this year, according to a leading Russian consultancy. Farmers have managed to reap a large crop despite unfavorable weather last autumn, a weakening ruble, which inflated their costs, and government regulation, which has periodically curbed wheat exports since late 2014. The ruble has been hit by low oil prices and Western sanctions imposed over Moscow since 2014. It has been also volatile against the dollar in the last few days, prompting some farmers to put sales of their wheat on hold. SovEcon has increased its forecast for Russia’s wheat to 61.3 million tons from 59.5 million.
China is seeking to boost rice production to meet increasing domestic consumption demand but is facing severe challenges due to the problems posed by soil and water pollution coupled with the problem created by rapid conversion of farmland to industrial use. According to sources, china produces 12 million tons of heavy metal contaminated rice worth 3.2 billion USD annually. High levels of cadmium has also been found in rice grown in some provinces. Though China is taking all possible measures to address its soil and water problems, its import of rice is steadily on the increase. Unofficial imports are rising due to the vast difference in domestic and international prices.