MOSCOW, RUSSIA — Russia plans to more than double durum wheat production by 2025, its agriculture ministry told Reuters on Dec. 23.

The announcement comes after Russian President Vladimir Putin was critical earlier this month of rising pasta prices.

Russia, one of the world’s largest wheat exporters, produced about 700,000 tonnes of durum in 2020, which is enough to meet domestic consumption, the agriculture ministry told Reuters.

In his early-December speech, Putin noted that in poorer regions of the country, Russians are eating “navy-style macaroni,” which refers to cheap spaghetti and fried canned meat on top.

Russia’s economy has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to high unemployment and reduced incomes. As a result of the pandemic, the poverty rate has increased to 13.5%.