Global challenges and trends in agriculture: impacts on Russia and possible strategies for adaptation
Purpose – This paper aims to analyse the mainstream and emerging global challenges and trends in the global agriculture sector. The analysis leads to a discussion on the present state of the Russian agroindustry and possible future strategies for adaptation in the context of the rapidly changing global environment.
Design/methodology/approach – The design of this study is based on the application of the core methods of Foresight. First, a trend analysis is undertaken using reviews and expert methods. Trends identified are mapped using a social, technological, economic, environmental, political and value (STEEPV) framework to ensure that a broad range of trends are covered, which may be stemming from various factors affecting the agriculture sector. The analysis of the big picture of global trends and challenges, interacting with country-specific structural factors, translates are translated into the opportunities and threats, which will in turn help to develop possible strategies for adaptation.
Findings – This study develops two adaptive strategies for the development of the Russian agroindustry that are feasible in different short- and long–term time horizons. The first strategy is considered to be the most likely choice for the period before 2020. It includes radical imports’ substitution (of commodities as well as machinery and high-tech components) for ensuring national food security with inevitable temporary setbacks in efficiency and labour productivity. The second strategy, which becomes feasible after 2020, considers re-integrating Russia into global supply chains and expanding commodities exports (volumes and nomenclature) based on full-scale technological modernization with the use of international capital.
Research limitations/implications – The study design is based on the assumption that Russia’s position as a country, which is highly self-sufficient on basic agricultural products and large exporter of crop commodities and fertilizers, will remain unchanged in the horizon of at least 20 years. However, long-term forecasts should also scrutinize the possibility of radical structural changes. Therefore, future research should concentrate on wild cards that can completely disrupt and transform the Russian agriculture industry and as well as the whole economy.
Practical implications – This paper suggests a number of recommendations on national science and technology policy for the three main industries of the Russian agricultural sector: crop husbandry, animal breeding and food processing (the fisheries sector is excluded from the scope of this paper). In addition, this paper proposes a number of measures towards alleviating the institutional barriers to raise the investment attractiveness of the sector.
Originality/value – The novelty of this paper lies in the originality of the research topic and methodology. The Russian agricultural sector has rarely been studied in the context of global agricultural challenges and threats taken on the highest level of aggregation beyond commodity market analysis or agro-climatic and logistics factors. There are few or no studies that lay out a map of possible long-term strategies of Russian agroindustry adaptive development. The Foresight methodology applied in this study is customized to better fit the practical purposes of the study.