India emerges as largest exporter of gherkins and cucumbers in the world

India has emerged as the largest exporter of gherkins in the world. India exported cucumber and gherkins in excess of 1.23 lakh tonnes with a value of $ 114 million during April-October (2020- 21). India has crossed the $ 200 million mark of export of agricultural processed product, – pickling cucumber, which is globally referred as gherkins or cornichons, in the last financial year. 

In 2020-21, India had shipped 223,515 tonnes of cucumber and gherkins with a value of $ 223 million.

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 per cent production of the world’s gherkin requirement is grown in India. 

Gherkins is currently exported to more than 20 countries, with major destinations being North America, European countries and Oceanic countries such as the USA, France, Germany, Australia, Spain, South Korea, Canada, Japan, Belgium, Russia, China, Sri Lanka and Israel.

In India, 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. Processed gherkins are exported in bulk as industrial raw material and in jars as ready to eat. 

The bulk production is still occupying a high percentage 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 4 tonnes per acre per crop and earns about Rs 80,000 with a net income of Rs 40,000. Gherkin has a 90-day crop and the farmers take two crops annually.  Processing plants of international standards have been established to cater to the requirement of foreign buyers. All the gherkin manufacturing and exporting companies are either ISO, BRC, IFS, FSSC 22000 certified and HACCP certified or possess all the certifications.

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