The recent boost in Russian agriculture has made food sales abroad much more profitable for the country than exports of military weapons, according to President Vladimir Putin.
“Today, agriculture exports exceed arms sales by more than a third. $28.8 billion from agricultural sector, $15.6 billion from the defense industry,” Putin told farmers in Krasnodar on Monday.
He said that Russian exports of agricultural products and foodstuffs had grown 16-fold since 2000. In 2016, Russia became the world leader in wheat exports. Since the early 2000s, the country’s share of the world wheat market has quadrupled, from four to 16 percent.
Russia will soon sell more produce abroad than the country imports, according to the president.
“I am confident that Russia will become one of the leaders of the global agri-industrial market in the next few years. I told the Federal Assembly that in four years we plan to supply more food to the world markets than we import. That is, Russia will become a net exporter of food,” said Putin.
To achieve this goal, Russia plans to develop infrastructure, broaden the railway network, increase the capacity of seaports, elevators, and storage terminals, he added.
The president said that Russia should be aiming at exports of environmentally friendly and quality products. GMO has been banned in Russia since 2016. Putin previously said he wants to make Russia the world’s largest seller of GMO-free food.