Lentils exports by country totaled US$1.65 billion in 2019, tumbling by -41.3% for all shippers of lentils over the five-year period starting in 2015. Year over year, the value of exported lentils increased by 1% from 2018 to 2019.
Lentils are used to cook many different dishes around the world. For example, lentil curry is an everyday staple eaten with both rice and roti throughout India. Lentils are often combined with rice due to its similar cooking time. In Europe as well as in North and South American countries, lentils are commonly also fortify nutritious soups and salads.
Among continents, suppliers located in North American countries sold the highest dollar worth of exported lentils during 2019 with shipments valued at $1 billion or 62.6% of the overall total. In second place were exporters in Asia at 17.2% while 12.8% of worldwide shipments of lentils originated from Oceania mostly Australia, ahead of Europe’s lentil suppliers at 7.2%. Much smaller percentages of exported lentils came from Africa (0.2%) trailed by Latin America (0.1%) excluding Mexico.
For research purposes, the 6-digit Harmonized Tariff System code prefix is 071340 for dried and shelled lentils.
Top Lentils Exporters by Country
Below are the 15 countries that exported the highest dollar value worth of lentils during 2019.
- Canada: US$904 million (54.6% of exported lentils)
- Australia: $211.3 million (12.8%)
- Turkey: $163.3 million (9.9%)
- United States: $127 million (7.7%)
- Russia: $52.7 million (3.2%)
- Kazakhstan: $51.5 million (3.1%)
- United Arab Emirates: $28.4 million (1.7%)
- India: $14.7 million (0.9%)
- Belgium: $11.1 million (0.7%)
- France: $10 million (0.6%)
- Germany: $8.8 million (0.5%)
- Netherlands: $8.6 million (0.5%)
- United Kingdom: $6.9 million (0.4%)
- Syria: $6.6 million (0.4%)
- China: $6.3 million (0.4%)
By value, the listed 15 countries shipped 97.4% of globally exported lentils in 2019.
Among the top exporters, the fastest-growing exporters of lentils since 2015 were: Kazakhstan (up 1,010%), Russia (up 805.2%), India (up 211.3%) and the Netherlands (up 76.7%).
Those countries that posted declines in their international sales of lentils were led by: United Arab Emirates (down -73.1%), China (down -57.1%), Canada (down -53.8%), Syria (down -41.2%) and Turkey (down -37.6%).
The following countries posted the highest positive net exports for lentils during 2019. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports. Thus, the statistics below present the surplus between the value of each country’s exported lentils and its import purchases for that same commodity.
- Canada: US$871.8 million (net export surplus down -55.1% since 2015)
- Australia: $209.8 million (up 12.8%)
- United States: $81.8 million (down -40.9%)
- Russia: $51.9 million (up 1,623%)
- Kazakhstan: $51.1 million (up 1190.2%)
- Turkey: $27.4 million (up 14.3%)
- Myanmar (Burma): $6.1 million (reversing a -$34,000 deficit)
- Ukraine: $2.9 million (up 1,823%)
- Botswana: $310,000 (reversing an -$82,000 deficit)
- Malawi: $303,000 (reversing a -$4,000 deficit)
- Portugal: $249,000 (up 227.6%)
- Tanzania: $191,000 (down -28.7%)
- Cameroon: $77,000 (reversing a -$249,000 deficit)
- Tunisia: $47,000 (reversing a -$1.5 million deficit)
- Gambia: $28,000 (reversing a -$1,000 deficit)
Canada generated the highest surplus in the international trade of lentils. In turn, this positive cashflow confirms Canada’s strong competitive advantage for this specific product category.
The following countries posted the highest negative net exports for lentils during 2019. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports. Thus, the statistics below present the deficit between the value of each country’s imported lentils purchases and its exports for that same commodity.
- India: -US$283.9 million (net export deficit down -69.4% since 2015)
- Bangladesh: -$183.7 million (up 17.8%)
- United Arab Emirates: -$73.3 million (down -11.7%)
- Sri Lanka: -$67.8 million (down -50.5%)
- Pakistan: -$65 million (down -34.2%)
- Colombia: -$54.6 million (down -4.2%)
- Egypt: -$49.8 million (down -57.9%)
- Sudan: -$43 million (down -41.4%)
- Iraq: -$42.1 million (down -17.1%)
- Algeria: -$36.2 million (down -59.3%)
- Spain: -$33.3 million (down -17%)
- Peru: -$33.2 million (down -19.3%)
- Saudi Arabia: -$32.7 million (down -39.5%)
- Italy: -$24 million (down -22.8%)
- Germany: -$20.9 million (down -26.3%)
Highly populated India and Bangladesh incurred the highest deficits in the international trade of lentils. In turn, these negative cashflows highlight Indian and Bangladeshi competitive disadvantages for this specific product category but also signals opportunities for lentils-supplying countries that help satisfy the powerful consumer demand from both Asian countries.
Canada in the Lentils Business
As a global marketplace supplier for lentils, Canada is the indisputable leader. Presented below are selected members of the Canadian Special Crops Association (CSCA) engaged in the growing, export, merchandising or brokerage of lentils in their whole, split or fraction forms.
For each business entity listed, its headquarter city and corresponding Canadian province is shown within parenthesis.
- Agrocorp Processing Ltd. (Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan)
- Bonduelle Groupe (Ingersoll, Ontario)
- BroadGrain Commodities Inc. (Toronto, Ontario)
- Canpulse Foods Ltd. (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan)
- Cargill Limited (Winnipeg, Manitoba)
- ILTA Grain (Surrey, British Columbia)
- Marina Commodities Inc. (Mississauga, Ontario)
- Scoular Canada Ltd. (Calgary, Alberta)
- Terfloth (Montreal, Quebec)
- Viterra Inc. (Regina, Saskatchewan)
See also Rice Exports by Country, Wheat Exports by Country, Corn Exports by Country and Barley Exports by Country
Canadian Special Crops Association, Members & Partners including suppliers or service providers for lentils. Accessed on June 7, 2020
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Field Listing: Exports – Commodities. Accessed on June 7, 2020
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on June 7, 2020
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on June 7, 2020
Wikipedia, Lentil. Accessed on June 7, 2020