The Czech Republic And Turkey Were The Main Global Exporters Of Poppy Seed

Bakery February 19, 2015
Author: Svetlana Sitkova
Head of Industrial Research Department

The global poppy seed market has shown mixed dynamics in the last few years. The significant growth in 2008 (214% Y-o-Y growth) was followed by a sharp decrease in 2009 (54% Y-o-Y decline). In the next three years, the market gradually increased until it plunged again in 2012 (41% Y-o-Y decline).

Poppy seeds are used mostly for confectionary, in a manner similar to the use of sesame seeds. Poppy seeds are extensively used in baking and sprinkling on rolls and bread. Pastry with poppy seeds is very popular in the USA, India, Germany and countries with a population of Slavic origin or those influenced by Slavic cuisine. That is why it is not surprising that the biggest poppy seed consumers globally in physical terms are India, Germany, Ukraine, the Russian Federation, the USA and Hungary.   

Production of poppy seed in the last few years has also shown mixed dynamics. The gradual increase during the period 2007-2009 was followed by a slight decline in 2010 and strong growth again in 2011. In 2012, however, global production in physical terms decreased by a staggering 59%, reaching 44,400 tonnes. Similar dynamics were observed in the volume of area harvested. The gradual increase from 2007-2010 was followed by a decline in 2011 (13% Y-o-Y) and a very significant decline of about 46% in 2012. The decrease can be explained by the overwhelming drop in global prices. The lower prices, in turn, were the result of overabundance of supply in Europe and globally.   

The countries with the largest poppy seed harvested areas in 2013 were Turkey (32.3 thousand Ha) and the Czech Republic (20.3 thousand Ha), which together accounted for 57% of the total global harvested area. In the Czech Republic, the harvested area of poppy seed declined by 10.7% annually from 2007-2013. The remaining countries showed slight growth in physical terms: Turkey (+5.2%), Romania (4.8%), Hungary (+4.0%), and Spain (2.4%).   

The yield per Hectare also fluctuated significantly in the analyzed period. Its lowest point was in 2007 at 5,694 kg/Ha and the highest was in 2011 with 8,316 kg/Ha. Broad harvested areas along with high yield in 2011 resulted in the oversupply of poppy seeds to the world market. The yield in 2013 was lower than in 2011, 6,993 kg/Ha. The difference in yields can be explained mainly by the different climatic conditions.

The countries with the highest volume of production of poppy seed in physical terms in 2013 were Turkey, the Czech Republic, Spain and Hungary. In the Czech Republic, a country with a long tradition in producing poppy seeds, the production levels decreased by 9.7% annually from 2007-2013. The balance of the countries showed steady growth in physical terms. Especially high were the growth levels in Turkey (+19%), and Croatia (+31.8%).   

In 2013, the Netherlands (15.9%), India (13.4%), Germany (9.0%) and Ukraine (8.5%) were the main destinations of poppy seed imports and together made up 46.8% of the global imports in physical terms. And while the share of the Netherlands increased significantly, the share of India illustrated negative dynamics. The shares of the other countries remained relatively stable throughout the analyzed period.   

In 2013, the Czech Republic and Turkey were the main global exporters of poppy seed with a combined share of 44.5% of global exports. However, the fastest growing exporters in the analyzed period were China (60.9%) and France (32.6%). It should be mentioned that Hungary and Germany, despite being two of the largest global producers of poppy seed, do not export much of their production, meaning that it is either domestically consumed, or put in storage.