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Sunflower Crude and Refined Oils

Regional sunflower seed figures 2011:

  • The EastAgri region produced about 26 million tonnes
  • Russia was the largest producer in the EastAgri region with about 9.7 million tonnes, 37% of total regional production
  • The top 5 producing countries (Russia, Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey) produced 88% of the regional total
  • The largest importer in the EastAgri region was Turkey with about 906 thousand tonnes, 61% of total regional imports
  • The largest exporter in the EastAgri region was Romania with about 1.2 million tonnes, 32% of total regional exports
  • Total sunflower seeds available for oil in the EastAgri region was about 23.8 million tonnes, 92% of total production

  • Source: FAOSTAT


    Click pie chart for full world production and trade statistics


    Sunflower's have one of the shortest growing seasons of the major cash crops of the world and are used to make oil, meat and confectionary products. More than 80% of the sunflower's value comes from the oil that is extracted when cold pressed using a hydrocarbon, such as hexane.

    The long-established leaders of sunflower seed and sunflower by-product production are the Russian Federation and Argentina and, more recently, Ukraine, who have become the number one producer and exporter in the world. Together, these countries produce over half of the sunflower seed to the world.

    Sunflower seed crushing business is a low margin, high volume business. Sunflower oil must compete with other vegetable oils in terms of price and quality. The variable cost price ranges between USD 550-800 per ton and depends for 90% on the price of the raw material. A gross margin of 15% of the ex-factory price is normal. The fixed cost for a factory with an oil output of 50,000 tons (20 ton raw material per hour) is about USD 2 million per year. With 15% gross margin, the break-even volume lays at 30% capacity utilization. Sufficient supply of raw material is the key to success (see Cigar Box 1 in Cost Price & Profitability).

    An alternative to crushing sunflower seed is to import crude oil from a low cost country (Ukraine, Russia) and refine it locally. Turkey is very successful in this respect. It imports over 300,000 ton crude oil from Russia and Ukraine, and exports over 100,000 refined oil to neighboring Iraq, Syria and Israel.


    Production and trade in the EastAgri region


    EastAgri top sunflower seed producers in 2012
    CountryQuantity (tonnes)% of region total
    1. Ukraine8,387,10036%
    2. Russia7,992,71434%
    3. Romania1,398,2036%
    Region total23,349,931-
    EastAgri top sunflower oil producers in 2012
    CountryQuantity (tonnes)% of region total
    1. Ukraine3,937,20040%
    2. Russia3,632,00037%
    3. Turkey819,2138%
    Region total9,782,649-



    EastAgri top sunflower seed exporters in 2011

    CountryQuantity (tonnes)% of region total
    1. Romania1,182,87032%
    2. Bulgaria1,040,71029%
    3. Ukraine406,07011%
    Region total3,641,362-

    EastAgri top sunflower oil exporters in 2011

    CountryQuantity (tonnes)% of region total
    1. Ukraine2,683,34264%
    2. Russia492,88612%
    3. Hungary268,9116%
    Region total4,208,923-



    EastAgri top sunflower seed importers in 2011

    CountryQuantity (tonnes)% of region total
    1. Turkey905,68661%
    2. Romania237,37716%
    3. Hungary63,2834%
    Region total1,480,996-

    EastAgri top sunflower oil importers in 2011

    CountryQuantity (tonnes)% of region total
    1. Turkey469,96330%
    2. Kazakhstan143,4789%
    3. Uzbekistan120,8688%
    Region total1,560,346-



    - For full sunflower seed production and trade stats in the EastAgri region please click here
    - For full sunflower oil production and trade stats in the EastAgri region please click here

    - For import and export trade partners for sunflower seed, please click here


    Related publications

  • Agribusiness Handbook: Sunflower Crude and Refined Oils (2010)
  • Kazakhstan: Technical Assistance to the Sunflower Seed Sector - A
  • Kazakhstan: Technical Assistance to the Sunflower Seed Sector - B
  • Ukraine / Review of the Sunflower Oil Sector: 2004 Update and Mid-Term Strategy
  • Ukraine / Review of the Sunflower Oil Sector Sector Review (2002)

  • Related meetings and workshops

  • Workshop on the Sunflower Oil Sector in Ukraine, April 2005
  • Pondering Policy in the Sunflower Oil Sector, Kiev, June/July 2004

  • Related news

  • Turkish edible oil producer Reka receives EBRD support for expansion, September 2015
  • EBRD provides syndicated loan to major Ukrainian sunflower oil producer, July 2015

  • Related videos

  • Better seeds, higher yields: enhancing Kazakhstan's sunflower oil sector


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