With the export of cucumber and gherkins to the tune of 1,23,846 metric tonnes, India has emerged as the world’s largest exporter of these two vegetable items, a statement from the Indian Ministry of Commerce and Industry said. The exports were made during April-October 2020-21, with an exposure of $114 million.
The country crossed the $200 million mark of export of agricultural processed product during the last financial year. The processed item is in the form of pickling cucumber.
A total of 2,23,515 metric tonnes of cucumber and gherkins valued at $ 223 million were shipped from India in 2020-21. Covid-19 had impacted the movement of vegetable items like any other export items.
North America, European and Oceanic countries such as USA, France, Germany, Australia, Spain, South Korea, Canada, Japan, Belgium, Russia, China, Sri Lanka and Israel are among 20 countries where India exports gherkins.
According to the statement, the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) took several measures to boost the production of vegetable items in the country.
The producers have been told to strictly adhere to the food safety management system in processing units, which led to product promotion in the global market and adherence to food safety management system in processing units. Quality control is a major part of product promotion adopted by the APEDA.
The agriculture authorities claim that all the gherkin producing and exporting companies follow international technical, industrial and commercial standards.
They are certified by any one of the international setting bodies like ISO, BRC, IFS, FSSC 22000, and HACCP. Some big companies have approval from all the above agencies.
The concept of social auditing helps some companies engage directly with the employees involved in the production process that ensures the transfer of all statutory benefits to the employees.
How Gherkins are exported: It has two broad categories, is preserved in vinegar or acetic acid; and provisionally preserved.
Cultivation of gherkin is widespread in India, but southern states of Karnataka, of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have taken the lead in organised farming, having access to export channels.
The commercial cultivation, processing and exports of gherkin and cucumbers started in India during the early 1990s, initially at a moderate level in Karnataka. Later it extended to the neighbouring states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Today nearly 15 per cent production of the world’s gherkin requirement is grown in India.
Ready to eat processed gherkins are exported in bulk as industrial raw materials. However, a high percentage of the gherkin market is occupied by bulk production, with about 51 major companies involved in producing and exporting gherkins in drums and ready-to-eat consumer packs.
Reports suggest gherkin assuming the cash crop status for farmers who take two crops annually with 90 days of cropping period. On average, a gherkin farmer earns about Rs 80,000 with a net income of Rs 40,000, producing four metric tonnes per acre. There are processing plants of international standards to cater to the requirement of foreign buyers.