MOSCOW, RUSSIA — Russia’s oilseed production in 2019-20 is projected to reach 21.8 million tonnes, up 14% from the previous year due to increased planted area and good weather conditions, according to a May 1 Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Exports in 2019-20 are forecast to be higher than the previous year with an increase of 9% to 2.23 million tonnes, the USDA said.

Production and exports are projected to increase further in 2020-21. But the USDA said the projection for both output and trade are tentative due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“The Russian Ministry of Agriculture previously stated its intention to expand oilseeds planted areas to boost production and exports,” the USDA said.  “However, the temporary ban on soybeans and sunflower seed exports following the COVID-19 pandemic will most certainly constrain exports, particularly of sunflower seed as soybean exports were relatively minor in 2019-20.”

It noted that in 2019-20 the Russian oilseed sector moved closer to full capacity due to increased production, with the industry reaching 80% of processing capacity.

“The processing sector is running below capacity in the Volga region so further expansion in production or reduction in exports could not be accommodated,” the USDA said.