Carrots are among the most popular agricultural commodities in the world and are among the world’s most economically important vegetables. Carrots are also a key agricultural export commodity for many countries in the world. China has been the world’s leading carrot producing country for many years, with 45% of the global carrot production coming from China. Other key carrot producing countries are the United States and Ukraine.
The World's Top Carrot Producing Countries
China is the global leader in carrot production. Records from the Food and Agriculture Organization show that China had an annual production of carrots estimated to be 17.3 million tons between 1994 and 2014. Carrots are a top agricultural export commodity for China and as much as 90% of the winter produce is exported. The major export destinations for China’s carrots are Saudi Arabia, Canada, Thailand, and Malaysia. Inner Mongolia, Shandong, Hebei, and Fujian are the major carrot producing region in China. The four major producing regions having alternating carrot harvest periods to enable carrot production in the country to take place throughout the year. The Fujian region harvests its carrots between January and April, which is followed by Shandong region whose carrots enter the market between May and June. Carrots from the Hebei region enter the market from August to October, and then Inner Mongolia’s carrots are in the market between October and December. The most popular carrots produced in China are those of the SK4-316 variety.
The United States
The United States is a major carrot producing country and is among the largest carrot producers in the world. The Food and Agriculture Organization indicates that the average annual carrot production in the United States between 1994 and 2014 was estimated to be 1.4 million pounds, the highest production of any country in the western hemisphere. Records from USDA show that the United States produced about 2.4 billion pounds of carrots in 2015. California is the biggest carrot producing state in the country, and about 85% of the nation’s carrots are produced in California. Other states with significant carrot production in the United States are Texas and Michigan. Technological advancement and selective breeding of carrots make it possible for the United States to achieve an average carrot production per acre of 34,000 pounds. The majority of the United States’ carrots are consumed locally, with the carrot consumption per capita in the United States being about 7.6 pounds. Only 6.3% of the annual production is exported. About 248.9 million pounds of carrots were exported from the United States in 2013, a small figure compared to the 2.4 billion pounds of carrots consumed domestically during the same year.
Ukraine is the largest carrot producer in Europe, a position the country outstripped from Poland, the traditional top carrot producing European nation. The Food and Agriculture Organization states that the average annual carrot production in Ukraine between 1994 and 2014 was 0.9 million tons, the highest in Europe and the fifth highest in the world. The majority of the carrots produced in Ukraine are consumed locally. The lack of proper storage facilities and general post-harvesting technology is the main hurdle preventing the country from tapping into the export market.
The global carrot production in 2014 was estimated to be about 38.8 million tons (combined with global turnip production). The global demand for carrots has been growing and is forecasted to continue growing, in line with the increasing global population.