Buckwheat Market Update – September 2023

Buckwheat Hulled and wooden spoon

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Buckwheat Market Overview

As we step into the new 2023 buckwheat crop, it’s time to take a closer look at the dynamics of the buckwheat market in Europe. Specifically, we will focus on Poland and the Baltic countries. Poland, the largest organic buckwheat producer in Europe, is shaping the buckwheat organic market alongside the Baltic countries.


This article will delve into the general buckwheat challenges and trends in these key buckwheat-producing regions but will also provide a better perspective on the market summary and estimation of the 2023 crop.

Buckwheat Challenges

Challenges in Poland

Planting Dillema: Poland has encountered a distinctive challenge this year. The unexpected cold nights during the May/June planting period prompted some farmers to replant their buckwheat crops for the 2023 season. Buckwheat, highly sensitive to cold temperatures during the planting stage, struggled to thrive in these harsh conditions.

Reduced Yield: One of the most significant challenges in Poland’s 2023 buckwheat season is the expectation of reduced yields. Heavy rainfall during the initial weeks of growth hindered proper flower development in buckwheat plants. As a result, the plants did not produce as many seeds as in the previous season, leading to concerns about this year’s yield among growers.

Challenges in the Baltic States 

Reduced Crop: Lithuania, a significant player and largest buckwheat producer from Baltic States, faces a substantial challenge in the 2023 season – possible reduction in the general buckwheat crop. In the previous 2022 crop, Lithuania produced and harvested nearly 68,000 tons of buckwheat. This estimation points to a potential colossal reduction of approximately 35% compared to the previous year, where it’s estimated to produce around 40 000 tons from 2023 crop.

Worries About Yield: Unfavorable weather patterns made local damages of many fields leaving buckwheat farmers pessimistic for this year yield. According to our local source, and confirmed by statistical office:

This year we predict a yield of 0,8 t/ha from buckwheat in Lithuania, which is our lowest in the last few years.

However, this estimation is seen as somewhat pessimistic, and there is hope that the actual yield may be better than initially anticipated, after all final crop stats will be available after the harvest.

Farmer's hand holding Buckwheat grains/ Buckwheat Market
Farmer’s hand holding Buckwheat grains

Buckwheat Market Trends

Buckwheat Market Rollercoaster: 2022/2023

In the previous season (2022/2023), the buckwheat market faced a significant challenge as prices were on a downward trajectory. This decline was chiefly attributed to the elevated buckwheat production levels from 2022 crop and lower consumption of groats in Poland and other EU countries, also due to the initially higher prices.

However, as the season progressed, a positive shift occurred, with prices gradually decreasing.

Concerns Over 2023 Yield and Lower Production

Looking ahead, the biggest worry in the buckwheat 2023 crop revolves also around yield, in EU major buckwheat producing countries.

The weather-related challenges, coupled with the decreased buckwheat production (both in Poland and Lithuania), paint a landscape where diminished production and lower yield can significantly impact the future of the EU buckwheat market, ultimately shaping prices in the coming months.

Will Russian Buckwheat Affect the EU Market?

Looking at last year, Russia had harvested a record quantity of buckwheat, totaling 1,240,000 tons (with domestic consumption around 850 000-900 000 tons). Excess of produced buckwheat was offered on different markets, finally also decreasing buckwheat market prices on EU markets.

In the 2022/23 season, Russia exported a record volume of buckwheat – about 262 000 thousand tons. Ministry of agriculture says that Russia buckwheat 2023 crop may also be higher than last year (!).

Buckwheat Production in Poland

We prepared for you ‘Buckwheat Production in Poland’ chart, which presents complete buckwheat production, harvest and yield stats from 2013 to 2022, including an estimate for this year’s crop too.

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


Examining the chart above, we can see that buckwheat production in 2022 nearly doubled compared to the 2020 crop, reaching a 10-year record of 176,000 tons. However, the estimated production for 2023 provided by our national statistical office indicates a potential decline of 35% (!).

Buckwheat Market Summary

The 2023 EU buckwheat market faces significant challenges, with Poland and the Baltic countries leading the way.

Planting issues and reduced crop production estimates pose major obstacles this year, especially in the organic buckwheat market, where both countries: Poland and Lithuania lead in production, and there’s no room for cheaper imports, as is the case with conventional buckwheat.

In the previous season, due to increased buckwheat production in Europe , lower organic food consumption, and cheaper imported buckwheat, prices declined, raising concerns for farmers.

Nevertheless, despite these challenges, the market remains a subject of keen interest for observation throughout this season.

Source:

  1. https://ahdb.org.uk/news/consumer-insight-the-organic-market-sees-a-dip-in-performance-in-2022

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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