Vulnerabilities in Russian Agriculture to Climate Change
Russia’s agricultural sector has experienced a significant rebound in production since 2000, becoming the leading wheat exporter in the world in six of the past agricultural years. Not only has Russia’s role in the international food trade system become more important, as the world’s population continues to increase Russia grain will become even more significant, especially to politically volatile regions where food riots have contributed to pressures for regime change. While analysts are cognizant of the effects of climate change and impacts on Russian agricultural production, little thought has been given to the pathways for a transition from industrial agriculture. The article identifies four vulnerabilities to the agricultural sector from climate change in the world and in Russia. The article discusses the dislocations that may occur during a transition from industrial agriculture. The final section considers alternative models for moving away from industrial agriculture, concluding that the market-driven approach in which private industry leads the transition by “going green” is the most politically viable in Russia.
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