Structure of Wheat Import into Russia

Russia, Ukraine and Belarus are countries, which import wheat. Russia and Ukraine import wheat in insignificant amounts as compared to their domestic market volume, while Belarus meets a considerable part of its internal requirements by import. The need to import wheat is primarily explained by insufficient amounts of high-quality wheat production (strong and valuable varieties) not capable of meeting the requirements of the flour-milling industry.
Dynamics of grain import is rather changeable because it primarily depends on the situation with the domestic wheat production in the above countries. In 2006, grain import sharply increased by approximately 140% as compared to 2005 and reached 1.3 million tons. Such a sudden change in the import of milling-value grain can be explained by insufficient amounts of harvested wheat and its low quality due to unfavourable weather conditions.
The main component in the Russian wheat import structure (95% of the total volume of wheat import) is milling-value wheat with a high gluten content predominantly represented by Grade 3. The need to import high-quality grade is explained by its insufficient domestic production, which is mostly due to climatic conditions prevailing in Russia. Grade 3 wheat constitutes about 10-15% in the gross wheat harvest. High-gluten wheat (more than 23%) is an indispensable raw material for the flour-milling and baking industry, which is primarily explained by technological requirements because only high gluten content in the flour makes it possible to produce high-quality baked goods. Grade 3 wheat is most often used in combination with weaker wheat. A separate item in the wheat import is durum wheat, which is practically not grown under Russia’s climatic conditions but is the main feedstock in the production of macaroni foods.
Wheat of lower grades is practically not imported into Russia because the need for it is fully met by domestic production. Seeding material is also imported into Russia. The largest volume of deliveries fell on 2005, which could be related to the gradual replenishment of the seed stock after the 2003 crop failure. In 2006 and 2007, the import of the seeding material into Russia was sharply reduced, and its share in the total volume of consumption of the seeding material was insignificant.
In 2005-2007, the structure of the wheat import into Russia was stable, and the absolute majority of the imported wheat was Grade 3 wheat.
Against the background of a stable import structure substantial changes took place in the volume of import. In 2006, there was a sharp increase in the import of bread flour by almost 2.5 times to reach 1.36 million tons. The main reason was probably bad weather, which caused a crop failure and an increase in the share of low-quality grain in the total volume of the gross wheat harvest. In 2007, there was a still sharper reduction in the volume of import to 456,000 tons due to an increase in domestic grain production.
The main countries exporting wheat to Russia are Kazakhstan (milling-value grain) and Germany (seeding material). Kazakhstan accounts for approximately 98% of the total volume of Russia’s import of milling-value grain, which is prompted by the geographical proximity of the country and attractive prices on grain offered by Kazakhstan. In 2006, Kazakhstan supplied 1.26 million tons of grain, and in 2007, in conditions of overall decrease in wheat import, it supplied 433,000 tons. Kazakhstan is also the main exporter of forage grain but the share of grain of this kind in the total volume of import is insignificant, about 4% of the annual volume on the average.
In the context of the varying import of the seeding material, the main exporter countries accounting for the largest share of the supplied seeds varied as well. In 2005, which witnessed a peak volume of import of the seeding material, the main exporters were Ukraine (33% of the total import of the seeding material), Lithuania (14.6%) and China (13.8%) (Table 14). Considerable deliveries of the seeding material could have been caused by the need to replenish the seed stock after the 2003 crop failure. In 2006, the import of the seeding material dropped by approximately 1.5 times, from 46,600 tons to 28,700 tons. The main seed suppliers were Germany (49.11%), Austria (27.24%) and Ukraine (9.85%). In 2006, the volume of import of wheat seeds decreased to 484 tons (Table 15). The leaders of supply were Germany (41.78%), France (30.49%) and Ukraine (20.49%). However, mention should be made of the insignificant volume of supply of the seeding material in 2007.
Main importing regions

Concentration of import in certain regions is primarily related to the location of large baking and milling enterprises. The leading region, receiving the largest amount of imported milling-value grain, is Chelyabinsk Province. In 2005, it received 31.6%, in 2006 – 21.4%, and in 2007 – 43.27% of the total import. This is primarily related to the location of such large enterprises as the Bread-Baking Combine named after Grigorovich, Makfa, and the Magnitogorsky Bread-Baking Combine-Sinto, which require durum wheat with a high gluten content grown in Russia in insignificant amounts. A considerable volume of import goes to the Altai Territory where Aleiskzernoproduct is situated (in 2006 – 28.14% and in 2007- 12.92% of the total import) and to Moscow (approximately 20% of the annual import) where a large number of baking and milling enterprises is concentrated.
The main importers of the seeding material are the Krasnodar Territory and Smolensk and Belgorod provinces. Substantial deliveries of the seeding material to Moscow Province are explained by a large number of enterprises registered in that region.
Structure of wheat import into Ukraine

Ukraine, like Russia, produces insufficient amounts of wheat with a high gluten content (over 23%), especially durum wheat. Ukraine also actively imports seeding material, constituting about 2% of the total import. On the whole, wheat import into Ukraine is insignificant, with the exception of years of crop failure.
Based on the data of Abercade Research Company
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