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2023 Sees Change in Canada's Lentil Production and Trade


In 2023, Canada's lentil landscape underwent significant changes, impacting both domestic and international markets. As a key source of plant-based protein, lentils are an essential part of diets worldwide, especially in vegetarian and vegan diets. 

Last year, Canadian farmers harvested nearly 1.7 million tonnes of lentils, a decrease from the previous year's 2.3 million tonnes. This downturn was part of a trend since the peak production year of 2016, which saw a record 3.2 million tonnes. Factors such as Western Canada's dry conditions contributed to the reduced yield. 

Despite the drop in production, Canadian lentil exports experienced growth. In 2023, nearly 2.0 million tonnes of lentils were shipped abroad, generating close to $2.3 billion in revenue, an increase from 2022. India remained the largest market for Canadian lentils, absorbing over a third of the exports. 

The financial aspect of lentil farming also saw a positive shift. Cash receipts from lentil sales reached nearly $1.7 billion in 2023, with farm gate prices peaking at $989.29 per tonne in December. This financial uptick reflects the growing value of lentils in the global market. 

Looking forward, Canada's lentil farmers are gearing up for an increase in production. With an anticipated 3.7 million acres set to be planted in 2024, the industry is poised for a rebound.  

Saskatchewan, the heartland of Canada's lentil production, is expected to see a 2.6% increase in seeded area, reinforcing its role as a major player in meeting both national and global demand for lentils. 

As we await further updates from Statistics Canada, the lentil industry remains a key component of Canada's agricultural sector, reflecting the challenges and opportunities within the global food system.  

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