Lentils Market Report, May 2023
In 2017, global production of lentils was 7.3 million MT, setting a new record. However, since then, global production volumes have dropped below 6 million MT twice, occurring in 2019 and 2021 (GPC).
Since 2017, global production volumes have dropped below 6 million MT twice, occurring in 2019 and 2021. According to GPC, world lentil production is expected to increase by 6.6% compared to the previous year.
The estimated world production in 2023 is 7.12 million MT, which would be the second-highest production volume on record after 2017. The rise in production volumes is primarily attributed to India and Canada, while Australian production is predicted to decrease after a record crop in 2022. If the impact of El Niño is minimal and Australian farmers maintain last year's planting levels, a new production record in 2023 is still possible.
Despite the increase in lentil production, it is necessary to examine the implications for the market more closely.
Global pulse supplies are still recovering from the 2021 drought conditions in North America, which resulted in lower inventory levels worldwide. In 2021, lentil production fell to 5.8 million MT, creating a deficit of 300 thousand MT despite lower consumption.
Higher production leads to increased consumption, with consumption levels estimated to reach 6.9 million MT across all lentil types in 2023. Trade volumes are not expected to surpass the 2020 mark of 5.2 million MT due to payment issues in South Asian countries, but the world lentil trade is projected to exceed last year's figure of 4.3 million MT. AgPulse Analytica forecasts 2023 trade at 4.5 million MT, with increased contributions from Australia, Canada, and Turkey. With higher inventories at origins, large upcoming production volumes, and relatively low demand from South Asia, the outlook for lentil prices is not bullish.
However, the market could find support the prices if a strong El Niño affects the Australian crop or if there are uncertainties regarding India's 2024 crop due to weather conditions. Monitoring weather patterns will be crucial for assessing potential impacts on lentil production and prices.