October 2, 2022

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So Putin has put Russia at the forefront of wheat-exporting countries – Corriere.it

An old problem plagues the media: good news seems uninteresting to us, and disasters give more attractive headlines. To the point of creating a systematic bias in favor of the Apocalypse: prophecies about the end of the world have good press, and moderately optimistic messages are considered irresponsible.

I paid for it, When I recently lowered the alert level for the world food emergency. Open Heaven, I have received reprimands from all sides (I will respond to them immediately). also why Delivering the good news – the prices of grain and other agricultural products have finally fallen – it conveyed one more thing, even more alarming: Russia has a healthy agriculture and this year will reach record exports of wheatRefutation of scarcity scenarios. Grain sales are not subject to sanctions, and therefore the whole world will continue to benefit from Russian production without hindrance. Very unpleasant, for those who (like me) think Russian President Vladimir Putin A leader covered himself with horrific crimes, having to give him some credit. But it is necessary to know how to separate political and moral judgment from the observation that it may be successful in some areas.

Agriculture is Putin’s secret victory. My age allows me to remember when Soviet citizens were able to make ends meet because farmers in the American Midwest fed them. That’s right: the collectivization imposed by communism generates frequent agricultural crises, from the time of Stalin to the era of Brezhnev, including some famines. In the Cold War years, America’s greatest enemy became a savior: grain supplies from and around Iowa were essential to Moscow.. All this is a distant memory today. Under Putin’s presidency, Russia has experienced an amazing recovery in its agricultural production.

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From 2000 to 2018, exports of agri-food products from Russia to the rest of the world increased 16 times. The return of Russia to existence under Putin is an agricultural superpowerAs it was during the reign of Catherine the Great at the end of the eighteenth century. Today, Russia produces more wheat than the United States. These two countries, respectively It ranks third and fourth in the world With 85.9 million tons for Russia and 49.7 million tons for the United States. The first and second are China (134 million tons) and India (108). But China and India each have 1.4 billion people and must devote most of their agricultural production to domestic needs, while Russia and America have much greater export capacity.

If you look at the 2021 export order, Russia is leading the way as an exporter of wheat With 37.2 million tons, the United States and Canada are almost followed in the second and third positions with 26.1 million tons each. Among the good news that is struggling to emerge: This year, despite the drought, wheat production will be on the rise in both Russia and the United States.

The good news that Putin especially likes and which the West tends to ignore has to do with the impact of climate change on agriculture.. The apocalyptic environment prevailing in the West tends to associate the increase in temperature with the decrease in agricultural production. Most disastrous do not hesitate to describe the scenario of food shortage. But there is no such thing in the predictions of the scholars who make up the dominant consensus on UN panels. Climate change will harm agriculture in some regions of the world and favor it in others. Russia, along with Canada and Scandinavia, is on the winning side.

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Putin knows this, and I started saying that many years ago. In 2003, the Russian leader declared: a two or three degree increase in temperature would not be as bad for a Scandinavian country as Russia. We will spend less on fur and grain crops will grow. It wasn’t a joke. Putin knew what he was talking about. In ProPublica’s Poll on “How Russia Will Overcome the Climate Crisis” Several ecologists have explained this scenario: climate change as permafrost melts It could add more arable land to Siberia than the entire United States. Extreme scenario, to give a sense of direction. To which we can add also a positive development in the sense of emigration: Siberia will become more attractive for the settlement of a new group of farmers (even if a different chapter is opened here and this is the problem associated with ethnic intolerance, since Chinese immigration is already changing the demographic balance in the Asian part of Russia). Many US experts believe that Russia is ideally placed to benefit from climate change, and not just on the agricultural side.

In the meantime, Putin should be recognized for having spared his country’s agribusiness from falling behind, to the point of controlling (depending on the year) 13% to 16% of all world wheat exports. And the At the end of 2022, Russian exports should exceed the levels of the previous year, that is, before the war in Ukraine. It is no coincidence that grain prices have fallen to pre-conflict levels. remain high. But we must not mistake the problem of inflation as a problem of scarcity. Food is widespread in the world but its distribution is poor and there are policy options that raise prices: look at India’s decision not to export its wheat anymore, to dedicate it for domestic consumption. I will return to this topic, because The food issue is shrouded in misunderstanding, often fueled by powerful interests.

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August 28 2022, 18:57 – Change 28 August 2022 | 19:46