Read the full profile
Economy, agriculture and food security
In 2014, the gross domestic product (GDP) was US$ 1 860 000 million. In 2013, agriculture accounted for 4 percent of GDP, while in 1993 it accounted for 8 percent.
The Russian Federation has moved from a centrally planned economy towards a more market-based economy since the end of the Soviet Union. Economic reforms in the 1990s privatized most industry, with notable exceptions in the energy and defense-related sectors. However, the protection of property rights is still weak and the private sector remains subject to heavy state interference. Russia is one of the world's leading producers of oil and natural gas, and is also a top exporter of metals such as steel and primary aluminum (CIA, 2015).
The agricultural production potential is distributed extremely unevenly within the country. It is limited mainly to the south of the European part and small areas on the southern fringes of Siberia as well as areas in the far east region. This distribution reflects the zonal diversification of the natural environment, from ice deserts in the north, through tundra, coniferous woods (taiga), mixed woods, to the fragments of steppes and semi-deserts in the south.
During the Soviet period, what was then Russia was a large grain importer. Since 2000 the Russian Federation has become a major grain exporter, but despite the large grain exports, the country overall is a much larger agricultural importer than exporter. The country has a large negative trade balance in agriculture and food because it exports bulks crops, such as grain and sunflower seed, while it imports high value products, like meat, fruits, vegetables, and processed foods (Liefert, 2015).