The Largest Exporter of Wheat in the World
Wheat is one of the most widely produced and consumed cereal grains in the world. As the global population continues to grow, so does the demand for staple grains like wheat. But which country is the leading exporter of this essential crop? Based on the latest data from 2020, here is a look at the 5 biggest wheat exporters worldwide.
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Russia Claims the Top Spot
- Russia – 37.3 million metric tons of wheat exported in 2020
For years now, Russia has ranked as the largest wheat exporting country, accounting for over 18% of total global wheat exports. With its vast tracts of fertile farmland, Russia has steadily ramped up production to become a wheat powerhouse. Ideal growing conditions and heavy investments in agriculture have allowed Russia to achieve record grain harvests in recent years. This dominant position as the top wheat exporter has enhanced Russia’s economic and geopolitical clout globally.
The United States Follows Closely Behind
- United States – 26.5 million metric tons exported in 2020
The United States is the second largest wheat producer and exporter worldwide. America’s sprawling wheat belt extends across the Great Plains, growing nearly every type of wheat, from hard red winter and spring wheat to soft white varieties. Advanced agronomic practices focused on high yields allows America’s farmers to grow bountiful crops to supply both domestic and international demand. America’s reliable transportation infrastructure enables efficient shipment of wheat stocks to buyers across the globe.
Canada Claims the Number Three Spot
- Canada – 24.5 million metric tons exported in 2020
Canada takes the number three position among leading wheat exporters. The majority of Canada’s wheat is grown on the Prairies, centered in the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Canada primarily produces high-quality hard red spring wheat, along with smaller amounts of durum and soft white wheat. Canada has state-of-the-art grain handling and transportation systems to facilitate exports around the world. Major wheat customers include the U.S., Japan, Indonesia and Italy.
France Ranks Fourth in Wheat Exports
- France – 18.8 million metric tons exported in 2020
France is Europe’s leading wheat producer and the fourth largest exporter globally. Wheat covers more land area than any other crop in France. Favorable climate and deep fertile soils in northern France yield abundant harvests of both winter wheat and spring wheat varieties. France is praised for its high-quality wheat and wheat-based products. Proximity to other European markets also boosts France’s wheat exports within the E.U.
Australia Takes the Number Five Position
- Australia – 15.2 million metric tons exported in 2020
Australia rounds out the top five wheat exporting nations worldwide. In Australia’s Mediterranean climate, wheat thrives through the dry winter growing season. Australia cultivates premium high-protein hard wheat, demanded by flour millers worldwide. Developing Asian markets present opportunities for Australia to expand wheat exports and cement its role as a key player in global grain trade.
With the total world wheat trade reaching $45 billion annually, these top exporting countries will continue playing a pivotal role supplying the staff of life to feed the planet.
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The Rising Demand for Wheat
Wheat is a staple crop that provides nourishment for billions of people worldwide. As the global population grows, so does the demand for wheat. According to data from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), total global wheat trade reached 192 million tons in 2020, increased by over 8% from 2010 levels. This reflects a steady growth in wheat demand over the past decade. With wheat used widely for products like bread, pasta and cereals, consumption levels are projected to keep rising, especially in developing regions. Meeting this demand will require the major wheat exporting countries to continue expanding production and exports.
New Players Emerge in Wheat Export Market
While the traditional top wheat exporters have maintained their positions in recent years, new players has emerged to claim a share of the global wheat trade. Countries like India, Argentina and Ukraine has increased wheat exports substantially. From 2010 to 2020, Argentina’s wheat exports grew by nearly 40% to 12.8 million tons. India’s wheat exports more than tripled over the decade, reaching 2.1 million tons in 2020. Driven by increased yields, these countries have boosted exports to serve both regional and world markets. With their lower production costs, countries like Russia and Ukraine also expanded exports dramatically. Competition from these new sources may challenge the export share of America, Canada, Australia and France going forward.
Outlook for the Wheat Export Market
According to USDA long-term projections, global wheat trade will reach 264 million tons by 2030, up 38% from 2020 levels. Population growth, rising incomes and changing diets in developing nations will fuel this increased demand. With limited ability to expand wheat production area, yields must improve to supply the world market. Major exporters will also face growing competition from Black Sea region suppliers like Russia and Ukraine. Nevertheless, top wheat exporters are investing in enhancing productivity and quality to solidify their leading roles. Advanced technology and improved farming techniques will be key to maximizing wheat output. The future wheat export market looks poised for further expansion, brining benefits to both major and emerging exporters.
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