The EU Export: Sunseed Oil Leads by Far


Apr 14, 2023 | Agricultural Markets News

Reading time: 2 minutes

The European vegetable oil market is projected to register a CAGR of 4.13% during 2022-2027. According to COPA-COGECA, a union of the two largest agricultural umbrella organizations and the most influential interest group for European farmers, Rapeseed production in the European Union was expected to reach 17 million metric tons in the marketing year 2021, down by 30% from the previous year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic-related reduction in planted area.

Over the long term, the market is driven by the robust demand for organic health-based products, with increased consumption among health-conscious consumers of high-quality edible oils /cooking oils and the growing demand from various application areas. The supportive policies by the regulatory bodies, like Renewable Energy Directive (RED) and European Union Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), are also widely supporting the application of vegetable oil in varied industries, including biofuel, food, animal feed, and cosmetics.

According to AgFlow data, the EU exported 1.1 million tons of Sunseed Oil in Jan 2022-Feb 2023, followed by Soybean oil (156,770 tons), Rapeseed oil (98,479 tons), and VegOils (69,242 tons). Rapeseed oil plays a significant role in the vegetable oil market, owing to its abundant regional production and wide application in the biodiesel, food, and animal feed industries. Germany and France are the leading consumers of Rapeseed oil in the regional market.

The EU Export: Sunseed Oil Leads by Far

Oilseeds Harvest in France

The 2022 Rapeseed harvest ended with good results in France:

  • 4.5 million tons, 
  • + 36.3% compared to 2021, 
  • + 10% compared to the five-year average, according to the estimates of the Ministry of Agriculture. This increase was made possible by the 25% increase in surface areas compared to 2021 (thus reaching 1.2 million hectares), as well as by good national yields:
  • 36.7 quintals/ha,
  • + 9% compared to 2021. 

At the European level, the harvest increased by 11%. The sunflower suffered from the drought. While the surfaces had jumped by 23% compared to 2021, the performances are weighed down by a yield falling by 22% over one year. 


  • 1.8 million tons harvested, 
  • – 4.2% compared to 2021 
  • but up by +20% compared to the last five years. 

The decline reached 11% over one year at the EU level and 9% at the global level. In Ukraine, sunflower seed production is expected to reach 10.5 million tons, down 40% from the previous season. The French Soybean harvest was also expected to be down by nearly 8.3% compared to last year and – 3.6% compared to 2017-2021. The reason: is the 22% decline in yields, which the increase in surface areas (+28,000 ha, or +18%) could not fully offset.

A drop in prices has been observed, like Soybeans (–8% in September 2022 in Brazil), while the world harvest is set to increase to 391 million tons. Rapeseed prices are also down due to the excellent harvest results worldwide: 84 million tons. On the French market, sunflower prices fell by 14% in September compared to September 2021, even though the volumes harvested worldwide are down. 

But other factors come to weigh in this evolution of the prices:

  • Recession fears, which would see global demand slow;
  • The agreement reached to open a corridor for the export of agricultural products from Ukrainian ports; 
  • Large stocks worldwide: 121 million tons for Oilseeds, up for Soybeans and Rapeseed, and down for sunflower;
  • The drop in demand for animal feed, which consumes Oilseeds, under the effect of the drop in the poultry herd in the EU (affected by avian flu), but also expectations of a possible drop in meat consumption in the face of food price inflation. 


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