Year over year, exported lentils declined by -5.3% from $2.94 billion for 2020.
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 commonly enrich soups and salads.
The 5 biggest exporters of lentils are Canada, Australia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and the United States of America. Combined, that quintet of lentils suppliers sold 90% of the overall value of the world’s exported lentils. Such a high percentage indicates an intensely concentrated cohort of lentils exporting nations.
Among continents, international suppliers located in North American countries sold the highest dollar worth of exported lentils during 2021 with shipments valued at $1.5 billion or 55.2% of the overall total. In second place were exporters in Oceania at 19.3% (mostly Australia) while another 18.3% of worldwide shipments of lentils originated from Asia.
Smaller percentages came from exporters in Europe (6.5%), Africa (0.6%) 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 2021.
- Canada: US$1.4 billion (50.2% of total lentils exports)
- Australia: $536.2 million (19.3%)
- Turkey: $272.2 million (9.8%)
- United Arab Emirates: $159.3 million (5.7%)
- United States: $138.8 million (5%)
- Russia: $97.7 million (3.5%)
- Kazakhstan: $35 million (1.3%)
- Netherlands: $14.3 million (0.5%)
- Belgium: $14 million (0.5%)
- Egypt: $13.6 million (0.5%)
- Germany: $10 million (0.4%)
- India: $9.9 million (0.4%)
- Sri Lanka: $9.2 million (0.3%)
- France: $8.6 million (0.3%)
- Spain: $6.2 million (0.2%)
By value, the listed 15 countries shipped 97.8% of globally exported lentils in 2021.
Among the top exporters, the fastest-growing exporters of lentils since 2020 were: Russia (up 242.1%), Egypt (up 156.7%), Australia (up 43.8%) and Kazakhstan (up 37.9%).
Those major suppliers that posted declines in their international sales of lentils were led by: Sri Lanka (down -55.6%), India (down -46.7%), United States of America (down -23.1%), Belgium (down -17%), then world leader Canada (down -15.7%).
Countries Benefiting from Best Trade Surpluses for Lentils
The following countries posted the highest positive net exports for lentils during 2021. 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$1.3 billion (net export surplus down -16% since 2020)
- Australia: $534.8 million (up 44.4%)
- Russia: $96.7 million (up 249.1%)
- United States: $80.7 million (down -37.7%)
- Kazakhstan: $34.1 million (up 38.2%)
- Afghanistan: $1.7 million (down -30.2%)
- Tanzania: $1.2 million (reversing a -$14,000 deficit)
- Malawi: $498,000 (reversing a -$3,000 deficit)
- Ukraine: $437,000 (down -80.4%)
- Ivory Coast: $163,000 (reversing a -$112,000 deficit)
- Myanmar: $96,000 (down -97.9%)
- Cameroon: $92,000 (down -67.7%)
- Uganda: $45,000 (reversing a -$100,000 deficit)
- Rwanda: $1,000 (reversing a -$1,000 deficit)
World-leading 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.
Countries Facing Largest Trade Deficits from Lentils
The following countries posted the highest negative net exports for lentils during 2021. 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$515.9 million (net export deficit down -8.3% since 2020)
- Bangladesh: -$243.1 million (down -9%)
- Sri Lanka: -$143.8 million (up 87.4%)
- Iran: -$111.4 million (up 28.9%)
- Turkey: -$107.8 million (up 1622.5%)
- Pakistan: -$106.6 million (up 2.7%)
- Egypt: -$87.6 million (up 30.8%)
- United Arab Emirates: -$81.8 million (reversing a $53.8 million surplus)
- Algeria: -$70 million (up 66.1%)
- Colombia: -$68.1 million (up 6.4%)
- Ethiopia: -$57.9 million (up 3.8%)
- Iraq: -$53.1 million (down -12.8%)
- Nepal: -$51.9 million (up 12.2%)
- Saudi Arabia: -$47.7 million (up 12.1%)
- Peru: -$44.4 million (down -11.2%)
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, Barley Exports by Country, Corn Exports by Country and Top Chickpeas Exports & Imports by Country
Canadian Special Crops Association, Members & Partners including suppliers or service providers for lentils. Accessed on July 30, 2022
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Field Listing: Exports – Commodities. Accessed on July 30, 2022
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on July 30, 2022
Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on July 30, 2022
Wikipedia, Lentil. Accessed on July 30, 2022