Canadian Buckwheat

The Wheat That Isn't

Hot buckwheat pancakes, drenched in Canadian buckwheat honey, are a temptation for anyone's palate. So are warm buckwheat muffins with lots of butter and maple syrup. And, for a dessert on a special occasion, you can't do better than an almond-raspberry torte made with buckwheat flour.

Interestingly, not one of these culinary delights has a single kernel of wheat in it-with buckwheat, you're not eating a grain at all, but the fruit of a plant related to rhubarb!

An ancient tradition

Buckwheat originated in southern China, and people have been enjoying its pleasant, nutty flavour for at least 3,000 years. It's a well-established crop on Canada's eastern prairies for more than four decades, and much of the buckwheat we grow is exported. A significant amount of it goes to Japan, where it's used in the production of soba noodles, a traditional Japanese dish.

Buckwheat is a versatile food that comes in several forms, each with its own distinct character. Groats are kernels that have been stripped of their inedible outer coating and have been crushed into smaller pieces, but are otherwise unprocessed. Kasha is groats that have been roasted to bring out their distinctive nutty taste, and comes in coarse, medium and fine textures. Buckwheat flour is made from ground groats and can be used to make baked goods ranging from waffles to bread. Finally, buckwheat helps make a superb natural sweetener, since bees love its flowers and use the nectar to make a dark, uniquely flavoured honey.

Versatile virtues

Canadian buckwheat has more virtues than taste and adaptability. It's one of nature's best sources of high-quality, easily digestible proteins, and contains all nine essential amino acids. It's a good source of carbohydrates and dietary fibre, and rich in numerous minerals and vitamins. And since buckwheat isn't a grain, it contains no gluten, which makes it an ideal food for people on gluten-free diets.

It's becoming more than a food, too. The pharmaceutical and nutraceutical industries are looking into its potential for lowering blood cholesterol and fighting diabetes. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada has focused its own buckwheat research on improving the crop's functionality, and on adding value to its uses in both the food and non-food sectors. Canada's buckwheat industry, for its part, is working to develop a uniquely Canadian frost-resistant buckwheat as well as new varieties with increased starch content.

Taste the Canadian difference

Dishes made with Canadian buckwheat are healthy, nutritious and deliciously different. For further information on Canada's buckwheat industry, please visit:

Government websites

Industry website


Trade Statistics

The following tables represent Canada's total trade in a given export commodity based on Statistics Canada data. The product categories represent HS code groupings and have not been modified. In most cases, statistics have been presented at the 6 or 8 digit level. Statistics are presented in Canadian dollars and are complete through year end 2010.

Canada's Exports to All Countries (HS Code 100810) - ($CAD)
  2007 2008 2009 2010 Growth 2007-2010
Buckwheat 2,451,153 1,611,663 897,843 1,193,602 -51.3%

Canada's Exports to All Countries (HS Code 100810) - (Quantity, KGM)
  2007 2008 2009 2010 Growth 2007-2010
Buckwheat 5,528,045 2,945,828 1,510,951 2,265,925 -59.0%

Canada's Monthly Exports to All Countries
(HS Code 100810, Value $CAD)
Month 2007 2008 2009 2010
Jan 143,027 126,819 132,543 78,834
Feb 237,047 157,040 87,114 228,174
Mar 184,803 130,990 164,049 95,345
Apr 154,074 440,154 115,959 87,071
May 47,892 121,543 55,229 58,671
Jun 148,952 41,567 0 54,392
Jul 211,730 159,820 15,231 16,188
Aug 75,320 0 28,739 18,157
Sep 111,756 14,076 59,914 0
Oct 283,050 64,399 63,332 138,591
Nov 417,898 129,965 84,930 99,492
Dec 435,604 225,290 90,803 318,687
TOTAL 2,451,153 1,611,663 897,843 1,193,602

Canada's Exports to All Countries by Province
(HS Code 100810, Value $CAD)
Province 2007 2008 2009 2010
Alberta 129,977 1,038 0 0
British Columbia 1,006,733 527,131 66,000 18,836
Manitoba 970,573 841,693 605,409 748,935
Nova Scotia 0 0 0 97
Ontario 240,925 238,446 223,085 347,088
Québec 0 0 0 68,165
Saskatchewan 102,945 3,355 3,349 10,481

Canada's Top 10 Buckwheat Markets (HS Code 100810, Value $CAD)
Country 2007 2008 2009 2010 Growth 2007-2010
TOTAL: 2,451,153 1,611,663 897,843 1,193,602 -51.3%
United States 973,353 641,200 761,361 720,808 -25.9%
Japan 1,351,456 898,939 116,000 295,746 -78.1%
France 0 0 0 132,490 -
Uruguay 0 0 20,477 20,933 -
Poland 0 0 0 18,056 -
United Kingdom 28,757 4,991 0 4,956 -82.8%
Panama 0 0 0 516 -
Saint Pierre and Miquelon 0 0 0 97 -
Belgium 28,112 65,495 0 0 -
Mongolia 3,600 0 0 0 -