Groundnut or peanut is one of the important oilseeds in the world today. Known for its ability to survive in less favorable agro-climatic conditions, peanuts have above 40% oil content and around 25 % protein. Used as edible oil in many parts of world, the oil cake derived after extracting oil is also used as cattle feed.
Groundnut (Arachis hypogaea L.) is believed to be the native of Brazil to Peru, Argentina and Ghana, from where it was introduced into Jamaica, Cuba and other West Indies islands. It was introduced into India during the first half of the sixteenth century from one of the Pacific islands of China, where it was introduced earlier from either Central America or South America.
India along with china accounts for half of the world's groundnut production today. Groundnut is the major oilseed crop in India accounting for 45% of oilseed area and 55% of oilseed production in the country.
India is rated as the third largest producer of groundnut in the world with annual production of over 5-6 million tons. Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka are the leading producers in the country and accounts for nearly 75% of the total output.
Groundnut contributes to nearly 25% of total oil seed production in the country. Nearly 75% output occurs in June-September and the rest during November-March known as khariff and rabi seasons respectively.
Climatic conditions, especially South-West monsoon plays significant role in shaping the fortunes of groundnut in the country. The price of competing oilseeds like soybeen, palm oil, sunflower, mustard etc. influences price of groundnut and oil.
Global production of groundnut seed and oil oscillates between 21-24 and 4-5.5 million tons.
China (2-2.5 million tons), India (1.5-2 million tons) are the major producers of groundnut oil, followed by Sub-Saharan African countries and Central and South America.
Global trade of groundnut oil is to the maximum of 1 lakh tons a year. EU and US are major importers. Senegal and Argentina are the major exporters.
International price movement of soyoil at CBOT and palmoil at BMD, Malaysia also influence the groundnut oil prices.
Festivals and celebrations also increase consumption and the prices.
Development of high-yielding cultivars of desired duration having resistance/tolerance to single or multiple stresses and developing stress management strategies are the main objectives of groundnut improvement programs in the world.
Novel techniques such as genetic transformation, molecular markers added selection, and gene transfer from alien sources are yet to make an impact on groundnut research.