Russia will set up in Syria the largest hub on its wheat exports in the Middle East, Syrian Transport Minister Ali Hammoud told Sputnik in an interview to UkrAgroConsult. “We have reached an agreement with the Russian government on establishing in Syria a center for the exports of Russian wheat to other countries in the region. In this connection, it will be necessary to expand ports in Syria and create granaries in the port area to store large volumes of Russian wheat,” the minister said.
Adequate infrastructure will be necessary to transport wheat to neighboring states, the minister added. “That is why we will need a railway and roads, which will be built as part of this large-scale project,” the minister said.
The world’s top exporter of grain, Russia, has increased sales of its wheat abroad by 80.2 percent from January to July 2018 compared to the same period of 2017. Russia has managed to capture more than half of the world wheat market in recent years, becoming the world’s biggest exporter of grain, thanks to bumper harvests and attractive pricing. In 2016, the country became the world leader in wheat exports. Since the early 2000s, its share of the world wheat market has quadrupled. It supplies grain to Algeria, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Turkey, and Iran. countries of the Middle East and North Africa demonstrate a steady growth of demand for the grain of Russian origin. Saudi Arabia has announced plans to become a major hub for Russian agricultural products in the Middle East. Generally, countries of the Middle East and North Africa cover nearly 32% of all export shipments of Russian wheat. Overall, Russia’s agricultural production is projected to grow three percent this year, from last year’s 120.7 million tons. That would be the best-ever harvest for Russia, even counting the Soviet era, according to Russia Today.