Sunflower oil is widely used in cooking due to its nutritional values, pleasant taste and health benefits. It also has a variety of industrial uses. The following are the main producers of sunflower oil across the globe. The listing is based on the average tonnes produced between the years 1993 and 2004 according to FAOSTAT.
5 top countries
With 1,865,498 tonnes, Russia is the largest producer of sunflower oil. The cultivation of sunflower seeds in the country takes up about 6.8 million hectares of land with the main growing regions being Krasnodar, Rostov, Belgorod, Saratov and Voronezh. Processing plants are also located in the regions to cut costs on transportation of sunflower seeds. In the year 2014, the volume of sunflower oil produced in the country was almost 4.8 million tonnes.
Ukraine has risen to become a leading producer and exporter of sunflower oil over the years. The average production from 1993 to 2004 was 1,768,556 tonnes. In the year 2016, the country exported about 4.8 million tonnes of the oil, with the total earnings estimated at $3.7 billion. The main market for the country’s sunflower oil is India, which imported 30%, followed by China with 16%. The country also yields large volumes of sunflower meal which it uses locally to manufacture feeds and exports to other countries such as France, Poland, Belarus amongst others.
The country produced 1,554,961 tonnes in average. Sunflower is mostly cultivated in the provinces of Buenos Aires, La Pampa and Cordoba. By the year 2004, the country had a sown area of about 1.9 million hectares of the crop. The yield of sunflower oil for the same year was about 1.2 million tonnes and approximately the same volume of sunflower meal. Of this yield, the country exported 920,000 tonnes of the oil with the main importers being the Netherlands, Egypt and South Africa. Netherlands, the UK and Italy also imported sunflower meal from the country in the same year.
France had an average yield of 542,667 tonnes between 1993 and 2004. In 2013, the nation had a production of 578,800 tonnes of sunflower oil from an estimated 770,732 hectares of sown area. France is currently the largest producer in the European Union. A significant amount of the oil produced is exported while the rest is consumed domestically where it is used for cooking and in food processing industries like making margarine.Sunflower meal is used locally in the country as a feed for cattle, rabbits, poultry and pigs.
Between 1993 and 2004, the country had an average production of 535,792 tonnes. The main sunflower seed production region in the country is Trakya. During the 2006/2007 period, Turkey harvested about 1.325 tonnes of sunflower seed which after crushing yielded about 545,000 tonnes of oil and 715,000 tonnes of sunflower meal. Due to huge demands for the oil, the country also imports sunflower seed from other countries. After processing the seeds, it exports processed oil and margarine to other countries.
The cultivation of sunflower seed and processing of sunflower oil is of huge economic benefits to these nations. Exports of sunflower oil in crude or processed forms are big earners for the countries. They also benefit from the by-product, sunflower meal, which they either export or use locally to make animal feed. Employment provided by this sector is also highly beneficial to the economies of the five countries.