New Delhi, Jan 23 (LiveMint): India has emerged as the largest exporter of gherkins or pickling cucumber, a member of the gourd family, with outbound shipments crossing $200 million in FY21, said an official statement.
In FY21, India had shipped over 2,23,000 tonnes of cucumber and gherkins—also known as cornichons–worth $223 million, the statement from the commerce and industry ministry said.
Following directions from the department of commerce, the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) took steps to develop infrastructure, promote the product in world markets and to ensure food safety compliance in processing units, the statement said.
Gherkins are exported under two categories – either as prepared and preserved by vinegar or acetic acid or as provisionally preserved.
Gherkin cultivation, processing and exports started in India during the early 1990s with a modest beginning in Karnataka and later extended to the neighbouring states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Nearly 15% production of the world’s gherkin requirement is grown in India now.
It is currently exported to more than 20 countries, with major destinations being the US, France, Germany, Australia, Spain, South Korea, Canada, Japan, Belgium, Russia, China, Sri Lanka and Israel.
Cultivation of gherkins is carried out under contract farming by around 90,000 small and marginal farmers with an annual production area of 65,000 acres, the statement said. Processed gherkins are exported in bulk as industrial raw material and in jars as ready to eat. Its bulk production is still occupying a high share of the gherkin market. In India there are about 51 major companies producing and exporting gherkins in drums and ready-to-eat consumer packs.
On an average, a gherkin farmer produces four tonne per acre per crop and earns about ₹80,000 with a net income of ₹40,000. Gherkin has a 90-day crop and farmers take two crops annually.