Chickpeas Market Update – November 2023

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Chickpeas Market Overview

Explore the 2023 Chickpeas Market Update, with a focus on Turkey and European countries.
Uncover the latest trends and challenges shaping the European and Turkish markets. Find out about Turkey’s 2023 crop status and what’s happening in Europe.

Explore Bulgaria’s chickpea production and the market dynamics in Spain, Italy, and France. Discover what are the production stats in Turkey and the future landscape of organic chickpea farming in Europe.

Chickpeas Market Challenges

Turkey Export Restrictions

Turkey ranks as the world’s second largest chickpea exporter, behind Australia. In 2022, the country produced 580 000 tons of chickpeas. Although this year’s crop was planted on a smaller scale compared to the previous year, favorable weather conditions boosted yields, resulting in a production that nearly matched last year’s statistics.

However, since 2021, Turkey’s chickpea export activity has faced disruptions due to export bans. Initially introduced in October 2021 to address a domestic production shortage and stabilize prices, the ban continued through 2022 and was extended this year, from August 2023 until January 1st, 2024.

Harvested Chickpeas in farmers hands
Harvested chickpeas in farmers hands

Under the current export ban, companies that exported 100 tons monthly in 2022 are now limited to exporting a maximum of 55 tons in 2023. This decision has raised concerns among industry leaders.

The Chairman of the Mersin Commodity Exchange Board said:

Decision on posing export quota is far from meeting the expectations of producers and will cause major problems for the chickpeas sector in the coming years. We think that export restrictions on chickpeas (and also red lentils) should be completely removed. If this is not done, Turkish producers will stop producing chickpeas and turn to other products

With the ban still in place, Turkish exporters are adapting by focusing on re-exporting chickpeas from other origins. Engaging in trade with countries like Australia, Canada, and Russia.

Turkey, became major importer of Russian chickpeas and has capitalized on Russia’s inability to sell chickpeas in European markets after the Ukraine invasion. Turkish based importers are purchasing cheaper Russian chickpeas, processing them, and subsequently re-exporting them to other markets.

Chickpeas Production in Turkey

YearPlanted Area (ha)Production (tons)Yield (tons/ha)
2013418 889506 0001.21
2014388 169450 0001.16
2015359 304460 0001.29
2016359 529455 0001.29
2017395 310470 0001.20
2018514 416630 0001.23
2019520 595630 0001.22
2020511 492630 0001.23
2021488 034475 0000.99
2022580 0001.07
2023575 000

European Chickpeas Market Insights

Europe imports an average of 150,000 tons of chickpeas annually, primarily from: Mexico, Turkey, Canada, Argentina and the US. The demand is steadily growing, and is expected to rise further in the coming years.

Traditionally, Spain and Italy were significant regions for chickpeas consumption in Europe. However, as Europeans seek healthier and plant-based foods, chickpeas have gained more attention in recent years.

Chickpeas are now seen as a healthy choice, meeting the demand for convenient and nutritious options. Consumers in Europe want healthier and vegan-friendly ingredients, which drives the rise in chickpea popularity.

Chickpeas field in Turkey
Chickpeas field in Turkey

Spanish Chickpeas Market

Spain produced respectively 39 900 tons in 2021 and 34 160 tons in 2022. However, country is facing challenges due to extremely dry weather and heat waves, impacting overall yield in last years. On top of that, ver 50% of Spain’s total chickpea production occurs in Andalusia. Despite these challenges, certain regions in Spain showed promising developments.

The new programming of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) also has become an opportunity to increase the planting of legumes in Spain. Starting this year, 2023, the area planted with chickpeas (among others pulses) will receive financial support that is estimated at around 80 euros per hectare. Even though Spain is growing most chickpeas in EU it still needs to import around 50 000 tons each year to cover its domestic consumption demand.

Italian Chickpeas Market

Despite being one of the major producers of chickpeas in Europe, the country depends on import to fulfill the domestic consumption demand. Italy is importing vast majority of chickpeas to cover its needs. Production in recent years vary from 23 000 to 30 000 tons, depending on the season. Around 15% of total chickpeas production is organic.

French Chickpeas Market

In France, chickpeas production reached 30,000 tons from 23,500 hectares planted in 2021, with almost 40% of the produced chickpeas cultivated under organic rules. This mirrors statistics similar to the previous year, 2020. According to French agricultural research institute, a slight increase in production surface areas for the 2022 crop was projected. Traditionally, the south of France has been a leading region for the country’s chickpea production.

France is strategically focusing on organic production and enhancing pulse production overall. With robust farming communities, the country aims to boost self-sufficiency in chickpea production, reducing reliance on imports from other countries. This trajectory indicates a projected increase in chickpea production in the coming years.

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Bulgarian Chickpeas Market

Bulgaria might surprise many, being one of Europe’s top four chickpea producer. Though official statistics are difficult to find, our sources confirms an average production of around 25,000 tons in the past years. However, in 2023, a significant decrease is expected, dropping to approximately 15,000 tons.

Bulgaria’s focus on export rather than domestic consumption positions it as a potential crucial supplier of chickpeas. With disruptions in Russian and Ukrainian supplies of similar quality chickpeas, Bulgaria emerges as an alternative for European buyers. Its geographic location further enhances its potential as an important chickpea supplier for other European partners. The country’s future role as a supplier depends on its ongoing production development.

Chickpeas Whole Cleaned
Chickpeas Whole Cleaned

Europe’s Organic Chickpeas Landscape

The organic chickpeas market in Europe has grown remarkably in recent years, especially in organic farming. Legumes, particularly organic dry pulses, have been the fastest-growing organic crop in the European Union. Between 2009 and 2018, the area for organic dry pulses more than doubled, reaching 440,000 hectares by 2018.

Spain, France, and Italy are key players in Europe’s organic farming. Spain holds 16% of the EU’s organic farmland, alongside France (15%) and Italy (14%).

France leads as the largest producer of organic chickpeas in Europe, contributing about 40% of the total organic chickpea production. Southern regions of France have become significant areas for organic chickpea cultivation. Italy also plays a substantial role, with regions like Sicily, Puglia, and Tuscany actively involved in organic chickpea farming.

Most of the organic chickpeas in the market come from domestic EU production or Turkey. Imported chickpeas are often cheaper due to higher production costs and sometimes lower yields in Europe compared to imported ones.

Chickpeas Market Summary

The 2023 chickpeas market presents a complex scenario in Turkey and Europe. Turkey, one of the largest chickpeas exporter, faces hurdles due to export bans but is trying to adapt to sustain sales.

Spain copes with weather issues, Italy relies heavily on imports, and France stays consistent in chickpeas production, with a significant organic share (40%). Bulgaria’s decreased production in 2023 is unexpected, but it aims to be a major exporter in Europe. Organic chickpea production in the EU is rising steadily, hinting at possible independence from imports.

Source:

  1. https://data.tuik.gov.tr/Bulten/Index?p=Bitkisel-Uretim-Istatistikleri-2022-45504
  2. https://data.tuik.gov.tr/Bulten/Index?p=Bitkisel-Uretim-2.Tahmini-2023-49533
  3. https://www.tarimdunyasi.net/2023/07/27/nohut-ve-mercimek-ihracatinda-yeni-kosullar/
  4. https://www.mapa.gob.es/es/estadistica/temas/estadisticas-agrarias/cuaderno_enero2023_tcm30-648045.pdf
  5. https://www.terresinovia.fr/-/bilan-des-recoltes-lentilles-et-pois-chiche-2021#:~:text=Le%20bilan%20de%20r%C3%A9colte%20pois,(vs%2016q%2Fha).
  6. https://3seaseurope.com/hummus-bulgaria-chickpea-exporter/
  7. https://www.ocl-journal.org/articles/ocl/full_html/2021/01/ocl210005s/ocl210005s.html

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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