Lentils exports from Canada to Turkey, Canada’s second largest customer, dropped to 190,286 tonnes in 2017 from 419,528 tonnes in 2015, The Producer reported. In addition to losing their largest customer, Canada’s lentil growers are losing market share in their second largest market.
Black Sea lentils are taking an increasing piece of the pie in Turkey, a trend that is showing no signs of slowing down.
According to The Producer report, Kazakhstan shipped a record 110,600 tonnes of lentils through the first 11 months of the 2017-18 crop year, with the vast majority of that heading to Turkey. Vivek Agrawal, director of JLV Agro, an Indian commodity brokerage firm, said Kazakhstan will continue to be a force in 2018-19 as well. “They are able to meet the requirement from the Turkish market. This takes away a major demand destination for Canadian product.”
Canadian lentil sales to Turkey have been on a steady decline in recent years, dropping from 419,528 tonnes in 2015 to 389,741 tonnes in 2016 to 190,286 tonnes in 2017. Neil Townsend, senior market analyst with FarmLink Marketing Solutions, wondered if part of the reason for the drop is a rise in Turkish red lentil production. However, that doesn’t appear to be the case. Turkish red lentil production is consistently around 350,000 tonnes per year. “The bigger reason is demand got killed by the higher lentil prices in 2016 and 2017,” he said. He worries that the price hike may have done permanent damage, which happened with durum in the Middle East region when durum prices soared. However, exports to Turkey appear to be making a bit of a comeback in 2018 with 108,443 tonnes shipped through the first five months of the year.