Urad or Black Gram is widely cultivated in the tropical region of Asia. Also known as Black Matpe, Urad is known for its nutritional values and fermenting qualities. An indispensable entity in South Indian cuisine such as dosa, idli and vada, urad is also used in many other dishes in India as well as other countries.
The composition of black gram is comparable to that of commonly cultivated legumes. Most of the ash, protein and lipid is present in the cotyledons, while the seed coat which accounts for 12 to 14 per cent of the whole seed is rich in crude fibre and calcium.
Split black gram seeds have about 560 to 640 g/kg of carbohydrates, including starch, soluble sugars, fibre and unavailable carbohydrates. Starch accounts for most of the total carbohydrates in the seeds as well as the cotyledons. The protein content has been reported to range from 236 to 286 g/kg.
Urad is produced mainly in Asian countries. India is the largest producer and consumer followed by Myanmar and Thailand. Grown mostly as an inter-crop with maize, jowar and other cereals, urad is sown during February, June-July and October according to the area of cultivation.
India produces around 1.3-1.5 million tons of urad every year accounting for nearly 10 percent of the country’s total pulse crop output of 12-15 million ton. Main production centres of urad are Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh.
India also imports an average 100,000-200,000 tons of urad every year. Main source of import is Myanmar. Major domestic markets of urad are Mumbai, Jalgaon, Latur and Akola in Maharashtra and Indore, Bhopal and Vidisha in Madhya Pradesh. Chennai, Gulbarga, Hyderabad, Delhi and Kanpur, also are other major trading centres of urad.
As in the case of other major pulse crop, climatic conditions play a crucial role in shaping the fortune of urad in the market. Import, carry over stocks and prices of other pulse crop also are important variables in shaping urad prices.