Russia’s agriculture ministry warns of durum export ban: Interfax

Russia’s state-backed news agency Interfax reported Wednesday that the country’s agriculture ministry has proposed a ban on durum wheat exports, effective December 1, 2023 through to May 31, 2024, citing a link to the Russian government’s website.

The article ‘assumes’ that the only exception to the rule will be exports to Belarus, a close ally of Moscow, and humanitarian aid to foreign states “on the basis of decisions made by the government of the Russian Federation.”

Precise data on the size of Russia’s durum wheat exports is hard to pin down, as the government has stopped issuing official export figures leaving the only clues to the scale of grain and oilseed exports port line up data.

However, most such shipping information only classifies exports as ‘wheat’, without breaking it down into component classes.

Trade sources spoken to by Agricensus suggested that Russia’s exports pace this year had already surpassed the previous year, and the measure was likely being taken to preserve stocks for the domestic market.

In 2021, the last year for which official data on exports was available, Russia exported 173,000 mt of durum wheat, but no official data is available for 2022 or 2023.

Estimates seen by Agricensus suggest exports since the beginning of the marketing year could have reached as much as 424,000 mt in the period to October.

Interfax quoted the total production of the Russian Federation at between 700,000 and 800,000 mt, and referred to a ministry plan to boost the acreage for durum wheat to support production of 1.8 million mt by 2025, and continue to grow from there through to 2030.

Currently, Turkey has emerged as a more significant regional exporter, with up to a million tonnes exported per year.