Carrots and turnips are two of the most important horticultural crops worldwide. They have gained and maintained such immense popularity for their taste, their cold-hardiness, their ease of storage, and their nutritional value. While carrots are believed to be good for eyesight due to their high content of carotenoids (still a disputed claim), turnips are treasured for having significant amounts of vitamin C, vitamin K, calcium, and folate. Carrots happen to be the second most popular vegetable in the world, following after potatoes alone. Turnips are also very popular, and are cultivated across most parts of the world. However, there are certain countries that stand out for their immense production of carrots and turnips. Below is a look into the countries that are known as being among the top producers of carrots and turnips in the world.
The Big Three Producers
To get us started, we have China on top of the list of countries that produce the most carrots and turnips. Its total produce of both the vegetables has been calculated to be nearly 17 million tons a year. Believe it or not, China produces around a third of the total global production of carrots, which shows the country’s excellent production abilities which extend to a number of other vegetable crops as well. The first carrots to make their way to China, which came from Afghanistan and Persia back in the fourteenth century, were in vivid shades of yellow, red, and purple. Contributing to their immense production in the country today, the Chinese have come to appreciate carrots’ nutritional values to the point that carrots are referred to as ‘little ginseng’ in the country.
On the second position in this list is Uzbekistan, with its total produce of carrots and turnips estimated to be over 1.5 million tons a year. With such colossal cultivation efforts, Uzbekistan also happens to be one of the leading exporters of carrots and turnips. The next top producer of carrots and turnips is Russia, which produces slightly over 1.5 million tons as well. Turnips have particularly been very popular among Russians, and are actually considered an ‘aboriginal’ Russian vegetable.
Other Important Sources of Carrots and Turnips
The United States places number four on our list for its high production of outputs of these root crops. It is estimated that the US produces nearly 1.3 million tons of carrots and turnips annually. While two-thirds of the US crop is produced for the fresh market, nearly 94% of American carrot production is grown in seven states. These include California, Texas, Washington, Michigan, Florida, Colorado and Wisconsin. In fact, California actually produces 63% of the country’s total carrot and turnip output.
Ukraine produces roughly 930 thousand tons of carrots and turnips a year. For the record, Ukraine happens to be the biggest producer of carrots and turnips solely in Europe, as part of Russia lies in Asia. It was as late as 2012 that it finally surpassed Poland, a traditional leader in carrot and turnip production, with a surge of increased harvested volume. Duly, Poland is next in line, with a total output of carrots and turnips amounting to about 742.5 thousand tons a year. Other important carrot- and turnip-producing countries include the United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, Turkey, France and the Netherlands.
Meeting Future Demands
While carrots and turnips can be successfully grown in a variety of climes, they have short optimum growing season windows in some places, and demand certain types of soil, drainage, and light conditions for farmers to grow them profitably. As they are root vegetables, they are susceptible to in-ground pests, fungi, and blight and other diseases, and are very vulnerable to rot under certain conditions. As global demand for vegetables tries to keep up with a growing human population, the most advanced and efficient carrot- and turnip-growing methods will be necessary to push production levels of these healthful roots to levels never dreamed of in future.