Buckwheat Market Update – June 2024

Buckwheat Hulled in wooden spoon also called buckwheat groats.

Spis treści

In Poland, the buckwheat sowing season is almost complete, with only a few farmers still planting late as they typically do each year. This raises curiosity about how the market will develop and what production levels we can expect in 2024. In last season, Poland produced 152 000 tons of buckwheat, and the market rebounded as buyers resumed purchasing after a sluggish 2022/2023 season.

In this article, we will focus on the current situation in Poland and explore developments in neighboring countries like Ukraine and Russia. Stay tuned for a comprehensive update on production statistics, market expectations, and regional insights.

Current Buckwheat Situation in Poland

Farmers in Poland have nearly finished the current buckwheat sowing season. Preliminary data indicates a reduction to 65 000 hectares in 2024 (down from 103 000 hectares in 2023), marking a significant 35% decrease year-to-year. We await official statistics from ARiMR on this year’s buckwheat production, expected to be published by the end of July. With only a few days left for farmers to submit precise production volume information, it’s unlikely that there will be significant increases in the sowing area.

Overall grain production in Poland for 2024 was predicted to be lower than in 2023. According to the European Commission’s spring forecasts, the total grain production in Poland for 2024 was expected to be approximately 34.898 million tons, about 2.66% lower than in 2023 [1].

The reduction in buckwheat production is primarily due to several factors. Firstly, the prices of raw buckwheat have decreased significantly in last two years. Additionally, farmers experienced good production years in both 2022, with a record harvest of 176 000 tons, and 2023, with another good harvest of 152 000 tons. This resulted in a substantial amount of available raw material for sale on the market. Consequently, farmers needed to decrease prices to stimulate sales.

Despite higher demand for buckwheat products this season, buckwheat processors and importers had increased access to cheaper raw materials from other countries such as Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Russia. This availability has influenced farmers decisions to reduce the sown area for buckwheat as well. Therefore, the profitability of growing buckwheat has decreased due to these factors.

Buckwheat Sprouts
Buckwheat Sprouts

Buckwheat Production in Poland 2013-2023

YearPlanted Area (1000 ha)Production (1000 tons)Yield (ton/ha)
201369 891.29
201462 821.33
201558641.09
2016821181.44
2017781131.45
201878941.20
201972871.21
202068941.43
2021931431.51
20221141761.55
20231031521.48

Significant Reduction in Ukraine’s Buckwheat Crop for 2024

For the 2024 season, Ukrainian farmers have sown just over 100 000 hectares of buckwheat, down from 147 600 hectares the previous year, which marked a record since Ukraine gained independence [2]. This represents a decrease in sowing of 32% year-on-year, surpassing earlier forecasts that had predicted only a 10% reduction in buckwheat sowing area.

The decrease in sowing is mainly because buckwheat prices on the world market have been falling, impacting farmers profitability. Despite initial steady forecasts for buckwheat planting at the beginning of the season, the ongoing price drop on buckwheat has made it less appealing for farmers. Finally, influencing their final sowing decisions and reducing the overall volumes.

Another factor influencing the reduced sowing is weather conditions. Buckwheat often serves as a backup crop when it’s too late to sow other crops [3]. However, the lack of precipitation in recent years due to unstable political events has affected the suitability of soil for planned crops.

Buckwheat Flower
Buckwheat Flower

Stable Buckwheat Production in Russia Amid Price Drops

Russia forecasts stable buckwheat cultivation around 1.2 million hectares for 2024. Experts suggest that buckwheat production may not decrease [4]. Adverse weather conditions such as May frosts have driven this projection, affecting certain regions in Russia and heavily impacting other crops that were previously sown.

Thanks to buckwheat’s late sowing period, which typically occurs in mid to late June, buckwheat serves as an ideal alternative crop when earlier-sown crops fail. The recent May frosts across Russia resulted in estimated losses of up to 1 million hectares of various crops. This setback underscores how buckwheat’s resilience as an alternative crop might help Russian farmers recover from the damages.

Russian processing and agricultural producer warehouses currently hold stocks of buckwheat exceeding 300 000 tons, representing about half of the required annual production for domestic consumption, estimated at approximately 600 000 tons. This is beneficial for consumers but not for farmers due to reduced profitability. The significant stockpiles from the 2023 harvest, coupled with sustained high production in Russia, have a notable impact on Poland.

During the 2023/2024 season, a considerable volume of conventional buckwheat entered Poland from Russia through various channels and countries, leading to decreased buckwheat prices in Poland. This influx of Russian buckwheat contributes to lower prices, influencing local farmers and producers. Therefore, the dynamics of the Russian buckwheat market play a crucial role in shaping prices and availability in Poland and other importing countries.

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Organic Buckwheat Production Predictions in 2024

In Poland, there are expectations of decrease in organic buckwheat production, which align with trends in conventional buckwheat production. Lithuanian producers echoed similar feedback, citing lower profitability in the previous season and cautious organic buyer behavior in the last season.

Poland and the Baltic Countries maintain their status as the primary producers of organic buckwheat in Europe. Unlike their counterparts, countries like Russia and Ukraine contribute minimally to the organic buckwheat production. As a result, domestic production in Poland and the Baltic region will largely determine final market prices, alongside the prevailing rates of conventional buckwheat.

Roasted Buckwheat Groats in Hands
Roasted Buckwheat Groats

Buckwheat Market Summary

In Poland, both conventional and organic buckwheat production predict significant reductions this year, notable 35% decrease in buckwheat sowing to 65 000 hectares in 2024, down from 103 000 hectares in 2023.

In 2024, also Ukraine experienced a significant 32% decrease in buckwheat sowing, attributed to declining buckwheat prices and weather-related challenges. Meanwhile, Russia is projected to maintain stable production at approximately 1.2 million hectares.

Organic buckwheat production in Poland and the Baltics is also expected to decline slightly, reflecting market conditions from the previous season. Despite challenges like reduced profitability and cautious buyer behavior, Poland and the Baltic countries remain crucial in setting market prices, especially in the organic sector with minimal imports from other buckwheat producing countries.

Source:

  1. “Zbiory zbóż w 2024 r. wyniosą ok. 2,66 proc. mniej” available at:
    https://www.portalspozywczy.pl/zboza/wiadomosci/ke-zbiory-zboz-w-2024-r-wyniosa-ok-2-66-proc-mniej-rdr,254521.html (accessed on June 26, 2024)
  2. “Ukrainian farmers set record for buckwheat production” available at: https://interfax.com/newsroom/top-stories/95258/ (accessed on June 26, 2024)
  3. “Buckwheat: The Game-Changer In The Food Industry?” available at:
    https://seedea.pl/buckwheat-the-game-changer-in-the-food-industry/ (accessed on June 26, 2024)
  4. “Buckwheat prices should not be expected to rise” available at:
    https://www.agroinvestor.ru/markets/news/42358-rosta-tsen-na-grechikhu-ne-ozhidaetsya/ (accessed on June 26, 2024)
  5. “The 2024 Sowing Season is Over in Ukraine” available at:
    https://agrokorm.ua/en/news/agrogroup/2024/06/11/19808 (accessed on June 26, 2024)

Author

Piotr Goral Post Picture

Piotr Góral

Co-Founder of Seedea

piotr@seedea.pl

+48 500 831 909

For many years, together with his small team, he has been boosting the sales of Polish family companies that supply food ingredients (mainly organic) to different foreign markets. His role involves creating new business projects and managing sales. He loves visiting suppliers and farmers during his travels, gathering valuable information that he shares through his articles.

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