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Groundnut Production

Groundnut Farming


The peanut, or groundnut (Arachis hypogaea), is a species in the legume “bean” family (Fabaceae) native to South America, Mexico and Central America. It is an annual herbaceous plant growing 30 to 50 cm (0.98 to 1.6 ft) tall. The leaves are opposite, pinnate with four leaflets (two opposite pairs; no terminal leaflet), each leaflet 1 to 7 cm (⅜ to 2¾ in) long and 1 to 3 cm (⅜ to 1 inch) broad. The flowers are a typical peaflower in shape, 2 to 4 cm (¾ to 1½ in) across, yellow with reddish veining. After pollination, the fruit develops into a legume 3 to 7 cm (1.2 to 2.8 in) long, containing 1 to 4 seeds, which forces its way underground to mature.


In Nigeria, Groundnut is produced in almost all the northern states. The leading producing states include: Niger, Kano, Jigawa, Zamfara, Kebbi, Sokoto, Kastina, Kaduna, Adamawa, Yobe, Plateau, Bauchi, Borno, Taraba, Gombe and Nassarawa.


Land Preparation

The objectives of field preparation are based on the following principles: Elimination and control of undesirable plants like crop volunteers and weeds to reduce competition with the established main crop; Provide favorable conditions for sowing, allowing germination, emergence and good plant development; Maintenance of fertility and productivity over the long term by preserving the soil organic matter and avoiding erosion; Breaking of hard pans or compacted layers to increase water infiltration through the soil whilst avoiding erosion; Facilitating mixing of fertilizers, lime, or agro-chemical products into the soil; Incorporation of organic and agricultural residues. Timely field preparation facilitates timely sowing which ensures higher yield.

Land preparation should ensure that all crop residues, crop volunteers and weeds are completely buried. Summer ploughing is advantageous to kill the weed seeds and hibernating insects and disease organisms by exposing them to the heat of summer.

Initial ploughing should be carried out at optimum moisture range to get good tilth and should avoid when moisture is in excess. Number and depth of ploughings depends on weed intensity.

For rainy season crop, with onset of rains in May-June, the field is ploughed once or twice to obtain a good tilth.

Harrowing of soil should invariably followed after each ploughing to reduce the clod size.

After the initial ploughing, the subsequent ploughings and harrowing are carried out when the moisture content of the clods are reduced. The number of ploughings are to be minimized to reduce the cost of cultivation. However, groundnut likes five tilth. Tillage operations should be repeated when the weed seeds are just germinated.

When the soils are heavily infested with perennial weeds like Cynodon or Cyperus, deep ploughing is needed.


Climatic and Soil Requirement


As climate is the single major limiting factor in the crop production in the mater of the time of sowing, scheduling of irrigation, timing of fertilizer application, using of pesticides, etc.

Groundnut is grown throughout the tropics and its cultivation is extended to the subtropical countries lying between 45o north and 35o south and up to an altitude of 1000 meters.

The crop can be grown successfully in places receiving a minimum rainfall of 1250 mm.


The rainfall should be distributed well during the flowering and pegging of the crop.

The total amount of rainfall required for pre-sowing operations (preparatory cultivation) is 100 mm; for sowing it is 150mm; and for flowering and pod development an evenly distributed rainfall of 400-500 mm is required.

The groundnut crop however, cannot stand frost for long and severe drought or water stagnation. Climatic conditions such as temperature and rainfall significantly influence the groundnut production. Potential, warm and moist conditions are very favourable than cool and wet climate, which results in slow germination and seedling emergence, increasing the risk of seed rot and seedling diseases.

Adequate rainfall well distributed during the growing season, especially during fruiting, is essential for maximum yield and quality of groundnut. Also a minimum 100 – day optimum temperature growing season is necessary for successful groundnut crop production.



Well – drained, light – textured, loose, friable sandy – loam or sandy clay loam soils, well – supplied with calcium and a moderate amount of organic matter are ideal for groundnut cultivation.

Good soil drainage facilitates adequate exchange of air to meet nitrogen, carbon dioxide and oxygen requirement of the crop (soil aeration).

Lack of proper drainage adversely affects root respiration, resulting in inhibition of root growth, ultimately affecting the plant growth and development through retarded metabolic functions.

In the absence of adequate oxygen in the root zone, beneficial soil bacteria, especially the nitrogen – fixers become ineffective and uptake of nitrogen by roots is hampered.
Since staining of groundnut pods reduces their marketable quality, light – coloured soils, which do not normally contain materials that stain pods, are preferred.

Seed germination and seedling emergence are favoured in loose, friable and sandy – loam soils.

The pegs can penetrate the soil easily and pods can be harvested from such soils with minimum losses of comparatively clean produce because the soil does not adhere excessively to the freshly dug pods.

Adequate supply of calcium mineral in the soil is very essential for the production of groundnut pods with sound and mature kernels. A moderate amount of organic matter (about 2%) has been reported to increase the water and nutrient – supplying capacity of the soil, especially the micro – nutrients like zinc, copper, iron, manganese, boron and molybdenum to meet the plant needs without staining the pods.

In addition to soil fertility, soil – texture is vitally important aspect of groundnut production.

Heavy and fine – textured soils with stiff clay minerals (montmorillonite) cause serious difficulties in groundnut harvesting owing to a higher pod – retention.

Such soils are therefore avoided for cultivation of rainfed groundnut because they tend to become hard and stiff during prolonged dry spells between two rains, thus severely interfering with peg penetration into the soil and their further development.

Whereas groundnut crop can be grown successfully on heavy – textured soils with a greater risk of pod loss at harvest.

Fields with shallow top soil, poorly drained areas and those subject to excessive erosion should be totally avoided.

Where groundnuts must be grown on heavier – textured soils, runner and pish varieties of groundnut are more suitable than the Virginia types.

High groundnut yields are obtained on soils with moderate acidic reaction (soil pH 6.0 to 6.4), alkaline soils being undesirable.

Yellowing of groundnut leaves and blackening of parts of pods occurred when the soil pH was 7.5 – 8.5. Soils having pH less than 5.0 are also not suitable for groundnut cultivation.

The ill – drained acidic, alkaline and saline soils should be essentially avoided for groundnut production. There will be a reduction in groundnut yield due to soil salinity and to reduction in pod size and the number of pods per plant.

Application of gypsum alleviates the detrimental effects of soil salinity by improving leaching of salts below the root zone. The normal yield of groundnut can be obtained on fairly heavy soils with good tilth and favourable moisture regime.

A pod yield of 50.93 q / ha of the irrigated groundnut grown on clayey soil (more than 50% clay), with favourable pH, exchangeable sodium percentage (ESP) and calcium carbohydrate equivalent, as against 10.00 q / ha obtained on the similar soils, with less favourable pH, ESP and calcium carbonate equivalent.

The soils which are most suitable for growing groundnuts should have good drainage, electrical conductivity less than 4.0 m.mhos / cm (saturation extract of soil), high clay content, ESP less than 5, pH lower than 8 and calcium carbonate equivalent less than 4%.

Similarly, the electrical conductivity of irrigation water should be less than 4 m.mhos / cm and residual sodium carbonate (RSC) less than 2 m.eq / litre.

The decrease in the pod yield when using saline water exceeding 4 m.mhos / cm was attributed to poor germination, retarded seedling growth, poor nodulation and reduction in size and number of pods per plant.

In tropical and subtropical conditions of India, groundnut is extensively grown in light – textured red sandy, red loamy, alluvial and coastal – alluvial soils as well as on mixed black and red and medium black soils.

A majority of both the bunch (more than 50%) and runner (about 80%) groundnuts in Southern India is grown on sandy, sandy – loam and mixed red and black soils.

Groundnut is also grown on medium black soils, deep alluvial loams and on sandy and gravelly soils of poor fertility with low organic matter content.



 The most commonly used variety to roast is the Española groundnut. Other varieties such as Roja Tennessee are intended for animal feeding and the variety Virginia is also used to produce oil. The most cultivated groundnut varieties in the world, distributed in the different continents, are VirginiaEspañola and Roja Tennessee, being the latter mainly intended for animal feeding.

In Brazil, spontaneous species grow. One of these varieties is Arachis prostata, that has been cultivated since the very old times. Varieties can be classified in two groups, those from an erect plant and the crawling type. Almost all the commercial varieties belong to the first group.

Some varieties such as Virginia are cultivated for oil production, forage and human consumption. Others, such as “Española” are mainly used to roast.  Each area has obtained adapted precocious and late local varieties. The ” malgache groundnut’ is original of tropical Africa, but nowadays it is found in Asia and areas of Northern Australia, South and Central America. The “kersting groundnut” originates in the West African savannahs, being the most restricted cultivation area; it is possible to find it in Mali, High Volta, Nigeria, Togo and Benin.

Some groundnut varieties

This fruit usually contains 2 seeds. It is cultivated for the production of oil, forage and for human consumption. The pods containing the fruit are big and thick walled.

This fruit usually contains 2 seeds and its shell is difficult to break. It has not got a high production. It is mainly intended to be roasted or cooked. The pods are small and with thin walls.

“Malgache groundnut’
Its scientific name is Voandzeia subterranea. It belongs to another species and is also known as groundpea. There are different malgache types depending on the height of the bush. The seeds are round, oval-shaped, hard or wrinkled and a fruit may have one or more seeds. It is original of tropical Africa, but at present they are found in Asia and Northern Australia areas, South and Central America.

“Kersting groundnut”
Scientifically named Kerstingiella geocarpa. It is another groundnut species. The pods contain 1 to 3 seeds, usually two. It originated in the West African savannahs, the cultivation area is very restricted; it is possible to find it in Mali, High Volta, Nigeria, Togo and Benin.



Three systems of groundnut sowing are followed

sowing on a flat surface, or using ridge-and-furrow system, or on a broad bed-and-furrow system. If sowing is done on a flat surface, the land should be levelled after final ploughing using bullock-drawn or tractor-drawn levellers. In ridge and furrow system, ridges are made using either tractor drawn or animal drawn ridge ploughs. In ridge and furrow system, ridges are made using either tractor drawn or animal drawn ridge plough (Fig.).



































Broad beds and furrows are prepared by an animal- drawn ridger (Fig.), mounted on a tool carrier (e.g., Tropicultor or Agribar), or by tractor-drawn implements with ridgers.











Two ridgers may be fastened on a tool bar so that the top of the bed is 1.2 m wide and the distance from the center of one furrow to the center of the next furrow is 1.5 m. The depth of furrows should be 15 cm or more.

After forming the broad bed and furrows, the top of the beds are smoothened and leveled using a chain attached to a wooden frame of a plough (Fig. 1) or wooden-frame leveler mounted on to a tool bar (Fig. 2).




The broad bed-and-furrow system has many advantages over flat sowing. They are:

helps in draining off excess water in the field and soil;

provides more soil aeration for plant growth;

greater in-situ moisture conservation;

easier for weeding and mechanical harvesting.


 Use Biofix organic fertilizer when planting

Biofix is an organic nitrogen fixer for planting leguminous crops like beans, cowpeas, groundnuts and soya beans; leguminous pasture crops like Lucerne and desmodium; and leguminous trees like Sesbania and caliandra.

Being a natural product made out of nitrogen-fixing bacteria, Biofix is environmentally friendly and is not expensive to buy or apply. When applied to groundnut seeds, it helps in the formation of more root nodules (small growths on the roots). These nodules help the plant to convert nitrogen in the air into into utilizable form by the plant. Nitrogen helps in leaf development and plant growth. Ensure that when buying the Biofix inoculant, you buy the right one for the type of crop you want to grow– there is biofix for groundnuts, and different ones for other legumes.

The packet (which is available in 10g, 50g or 100g) should contain the inoculant and a sticker made of gum Arabic or sugar solution. During planting, one needs one packet of biofix (100g) for 15kg of seed, which is enough for a 1-acre farm. Follow the instructions given on the package.

Once the seeds are inoculated with biofix, crops can take up nitrogen much easier and faster, which results in more rapid growth and plentiful harvest. When using biofix ensure you plant when your soil is still moist.


Management Practices

 Manure and fertilizers

Groundnut responds to residual soil fertility better than the direct application of fertilizers. The crop(s) preceding groundnut should be well fertilized to build up soil fertility particularly for phosphorus (P) and potassium (K). Application of fertilizers and their dose should be based on the nutrient status of the soil as determined by the soil test and the targeted yield. However, general recommendations for groundnut are as follows:

Manure Farm yard manure (FYM) or Compost: 10-12 t/ha; 25-30 days before sowing Introducing green manure in crop rotation also helps to increase the organic matter content of the soil and improve its structure. Macronutrients Nitrogen (N), P and K: 8-20 N, 16-80 P2O5, 0-75 K2O kg/ha; as basal application Calcium (Ca): 200-400 kg/ha of gypsum at the peak flowering stage as side placement. Calcium is essential for good seed development. Micronutrients Many fields are deficient in micronutrients – boron, zinc and sulphur. If soil test shows deficiency of these micronutrients, remedial measures should be taken as follows: Boron (B): Apply 3-4 kg/ha borax to the soil at the time of land preparation. The residual effect of borax should last several seasons. Alternately, 0.1% borax can be sprayed on the crop early in the season to ensure boron uptake before flowering. Zinc (Zn): Apply 10-20 kg/ha zinc sulphate to the soil once in three years at the time of land preparation. Sulphur (S): Application of gypsum provides adequate sulphur to the crop. Sulphur deficiency is most likely on very sandy soils, which possess little anion exchange capacity. Iron (Fe): In many calcareous soils, groundnut plants show iron deficiency symptoms (interveinal chlorosis in young leaves followed by full chlorosis (whitish yellow) of entire leaves). Iron chlorosis can be alleviated by applying ferrous sulphate @ 10 kg/ha to the soil or spraying the affected crop with 0.5% ferrous sulphate + 0.2% urea solution. If required, the spray treatment could be repeated at 10-14 days’ interval.


Seed Treatments

Rhizobium inoculation: Rhizobium inoculation could be beneficial in newly cleared fields, rice fallows, fields with eroded soils and low fertility. Seeds should be treated just before sowing with Rhizobium culture. For soil borne diseases: Seeds should be treated with captan (1.5 g) + thiram (1.5 g), carbendazim (2.0 g) or mancozeb (3.0 g) per kg of seed or other locally recommended fungicide(s). Seed treatment with Trichoderma viride or T. harzianum @ 4-5 g/kg seed also helps in managing seed and soil borne diseases. For soil insect pests: In white grub and termite endemic areas, seed should be treated with chlorpyriphos 20 EC @ 12.5 ml/kg seed. For sucking insect pests: Seed treatment with imidacloprid (17.8 SC) @ 2 ml/ kg seed gives protection against sucking insect pests (thrips, jassids and aphids) and leaf miner at early stages of plant growth. Seed dormancy: Virginia varieties have postharvest seed dormancy, which may last for 5-6 months. If such varieties are to be sown immediately after harvest, the seeds should be thinly spread over a tarpaulin or plastic sheet and sprayed thoroughly with etherel 39 EC @ 5 ml/L water and air dried just before sowing. Seed treatment with fungicide/insecticide gives protection up to 30 days after sowing. It should be carried out one or two days prior to sowing. Seeds should be treated first with liquid chemicals and after drying with powder/ dust chemicals. If the Rhizobium strain is not compatible with fungicide/ insecticide, the culture can be applied in sowing rows following slurry method.


Spacing, Sowing Depth and Seed Rate Spacing

Row to row 30–45 cm and plant to plant within a row 10–15 cm or as recommended for the location; one seed/hill. A closer spacing for Spanish/Valencia (bunch) cultivars and a wider spacing for Virginia (semi-spreading or spreading) cultivars are recommended. Sowing depth: 5 cm Optimum plant population: 330,000 plants/ha for Spanish/Valencia cultivars and 148,000 plants/ha for Virginia cultivars.


Seed rate

The seed rate will vary depending on seed weight, germination % and row to row and seed to seed spacing adopted. Normally, it may range from 100 kg to 160 kg/ha.


Sowing method

The use of seed drill (bullock-drawn or tractor-mounted) is recommended as it results in faster sowing, quicker emergence and uniform plant stand. There should be enough moisture in the soil before sowing to ensure quick and uniform germination. In case of dry sowing, irrigation should be provided soon after, preferably with sprinklers. Flood irrigation should be avoided. Intercultivation and weed management It is essential to keep groundnut fields weed free for up to 45 days after crop emergence. Even at later stages it is desirable not to have weeds in the field as they interfere with harvesting. Application of pre-emergence herbicides such as pendimethalin @ 1.0 -1.5 kg a.i./ha as spray or fluchloralin @ 1.0 -1.5 kg a.i./ha as pre-plant soil incorporation followed by 1-2 hand weeding, as and when needed, effectively reduces weed competition. The last hand weeding can be done along with gypsum application so as to incorporate it in the soil. The plant should not be disturbed once the pegs enter the soil. Interculture in a rainfed crop helps to reduce weeds and also encourages infiltration of rainwater. Many farmers practice earthing up (mounting soil around the plant), which is not recommendable, to allow pegs from higher nodes to enter the soil. This practice may promote growth of stem rot causing fungus (Sclerotium rolfsii). It also deteriorates the quality of earlier set mature pods while waiting for the later set pods to mature.


Water management

Rainfed crop

Proper arrangements for drainage should be made so that excess rain water does not stagnate in the field. If supplementary irrigation is available, it should be given at critical stages such as flowering, pegging and pod and seed development.


Irrigated crop

Except for crops grown on residual moisture, rabi/summer/ spring season crops are fully irrigated. Generally, 600-650 mm water is sufficient to raise a full groundnut crop. A 2-3-week moisture stress soon after crop emergence followed by regular irrigation, often helps in inducing profuse flowering and uniform pod maturity. At pegging and pod and seed development stages, light but frequent irrigation is required. Excessive irrigation at later stages of crop growth may promote pod and seed diseases at maturity. The preferred method of irrigation is sprinkler irrigation. Flood irrigation, often practiced in flat sowing in south Asia, is not a good method of irrigation as it wastes water, results in over watering and trampling of plants in the field by workers engaged in irrigation.

Plant Protection

There are a number of disease/insect pest management measures, including use of resistant cultivars, cultural, chemical and biological. Growing resistant/ tolerant cultivars is the most economic and efficient measure. In case the level of resistance in a preferred cultivar is not high enough, other approaches should be combined to obtain better protection against diseases and insect pests.

For high volume sprayers, 450-500 L and for low volume sprayers 225-250 L water is required to cover 1 ha. While using chemicals, protective clothing should be worn and proper care should be taken to dispose empty bottles/ cartons of chemicals in a safe manner.


Pest and Disease Management


Groundnut leaf miner (Stomopteryx subscecivella)

Identification & Monitoring

The adult is a brownish gray moth, 6 mm long with 10 mm wing span.

The eggs are shiny white and are laid singly underside of the leaflets.

The larvae mine in to the leaves and are about 1 mm long at first and enlarge as the larvae grow.

Pupation takes place in the webbing.

Install pheromone trap @ 1/ha for monitoring

It is severe during August-October.

ETL is 2-3 larvae/plant or 10% leaflets damaged in central whorl


Young larvae initially mine into the leaflets, feed on the mesophyll and form small brown

blotches on the leaf.

Later stages larvae web the leaflets together and feed on them, remaining within the folds.

Severely attacked field looks “burnt” from a distance.

Cultural Control

Stray planting of cowpea or soybean as trap crop.

Crop rotation with non-leguminous crop is advised in case of severe recurring problem.

Crop rotation of groundnut with soybean and other leguminous crops should be avoided.

Use resistant/tolerant varieties.

Mechanical Control

Collect and destroy egg masses and early instars larvae.

Install pheromone trap @ 5/ha for mass trapping.

Spray neem based formulation @ 5%.

Biological Control

Release Trichogramma Chilonis @ 50000/ha twice (7-10 days interval)

Conserve the natural bio control population of spiders, long horned grasshoppers, praying mantis, robar fly, ants, green lace wing, damsel flies/dragon flies, flower bugs, shield bugs, lady bird beetles, ground beetle, predatory cricket, earwig, braconids, trichogrammatids, NPV, green muscular fungus.

Mulching with rice straw causes reduction in leaf miner incidence and increase in percentage parasitism.

Intercropping groundnut with Pennisetum glacum enhanced the parasitoid Goniozus spp. on leaf miner.

Chemical Control

Apply safe chemical insecticides at recommended doses only if the insect population crosses the ETL.

Effective control could be achieved if insecticide is applied at 45 and 70 days after planting.

Carbaryl 50WP 0.2 per cent spray was found to be most economical for controlling this pest; or Spray Quinalphos 25 EC 2ml or Methyldemeton 25 EC 1.6ml or Dimethoate 30 EC 2ml /lit of water.


Groundnut bud borer (Anarsia ephippias)

Identification & Monitoring

The larvae are chocolate brown in color and 10-15 mm long.

It prefers to bore into terminal buds and shoots


The larva bores into the terminal buds and shoots and tip of the stem.

The tender leaflets emerging from central spindle will show shot-hole symptoms initially.

In severe infestation emerging leaflets will have only the midribs or several oblong feeding holes.

Biological Control

Neem oil 3 per cent and leaf extract of Vitex negumdo (nochi) 5 per cent were also effective against this pest.

The hymenopteran parasitoids, Bracon gelechiiae Ashm and brachymeria sp cause parasitism up to 24 per cent on larvae

Chemical Control

Spraying of monocrotophos 36SL 0.5 per cent (1.5 ml/lit) was found to be more effective in controlling the bud borer.


Bihar hairy caterpillar (Spilosoma (Diacrisia) obliqua)

Identification & Monitoring

The adult is a brown moth with a 40-50 mm wing span and a red abdomen.

Eggs are laid in clusters of 50-100, on the lower side of leaves.

The larvae are covered with long yellowish to black hairs and are up to 5 cm long.

Pupation takes place in the soil under dry foliage and debris.

The pupa forms a thin silken cocoon by interwoven shed hairs of the larvae.


Young larvae feed gregariously mostly on the under surface of the leaves.

Feed on leaves and cause loss by way of defoliation.

In severe cases only stems are left behind.

In defoliated crop it also feed on capsules.

Cultural Control

Pre-monsoon deep ploughing (two/three times) will expose the hibernating pupae to sunlight and predatory birds.

Removal and destruction of alternate wild hosts which harbour the hairy caterpillars.

Grow trap crops like cowpea, castor and jatropha on field bunds to attract the caterpillars.

Irrigate once to avoid prolonged mid-season drought to prevent pre-harvest infestation.

Mechanical Control

Setting up bonfires on field bunds during night.

Mass collection and destruction of eggs and just emerged caterpillars.

Place the twigs and leaves of calotropis, jatropha and papaya around the field to trap grown up caterpillars and destruction.

Biological Control

Conserve the natural bio control population of spiders, long horned grasshoppers, praying mantid, robar fly, ants, green lace wing, damsel flies/dragon flies, flower bugs, shield bugs, lady bird, beetles, ground beetle, predatory cricket, earwig, braconids, trichogrammatids, NPV, green muscular fungus.

Use of NPV (nuclear polyhedrosis virus) on cloudy days at 500 LE/ha will be effective. Spraying of Bacillus thuringiensis is also advocated at 1 kg/ha where mulberry is not grown.

Conserve the barconids parasites.

Chemical Control

Apply safe chemical insecticides at recommended doses only if the insect population crosses the ETL.

Dust Lindan 1.3% or Fanvalerate 0.4% 15.20 kg/ha, the early stage is easy to control.

Form a deep furrow trench around the field and dust with two per cent methyl parathion to prevent the mass migration of hairy caterpillars.

Spraying of quinalphos 25 EC (2 ml/lit), or chlorpyriphos 20 EC (2.5 ml/lit) or endosulfan 35 EC (2.0 ml/lit) recommended when the caterpillars are younger.


Tobacco caterpillar (Spodoptera litura)

Identification & Monitoring

The adults are light brown moths with a wing span of about 30 mm and mottled forewings.

The egg masses about 4 X 7 mm appear golden brown on the upper surface of leaves.

Young larvae are light green in color.

Full grown larvae are stout, cylindrical and pale greenish brown with dark markings.

The pupae are reddish brown and is in the soil close to the plant.

The larvae feed mostly during night time.

Monitor the flight intensity of the larvae using traps like pheromone trap.

It is one of the serious pests of groundnut.


Freshly hatched larvae feed gregariously, scraping the chlorophyll, soon disperse.

Later stages feed voraciously on the foliage at night, hiding usually in the soil around the base of the plants during the day.

Sometimes the feeding is so heavy that only petioles and branches are left behind.

In light soil, caterpillar bores into the pods.

Cultural Control

Deep summer ploughing.

Early sowing to escape insect pest damage.

Irrigate once to avoid prolonged mid-season drought

Planting castor or sunflower plants as trap crop for egg laying and destroying eggs or 1st stage larvae help in reducing the incidence.

The sunflower act as bird perches as well.

Mechanical Control

Install light trap.

Two hand or mechanical weeding at 15-20 days after sowing.

Use pheromone traps (5/ha) to monitor moth population.

Install 10-12 bird perches per ha.

Collection of egg masses/early instars larvae from trap crops.

Biological Control

Conserve the natural bio control population of spiders, long horned grasshoppers, praying mantis, robar fly, ants, greenlace wing, damsel flies/dragon flies, flower bugs, shield bugs, lady bird beetles, ground beetle, predatory cricket, earwig, braconids, trichogrammatids, NPV, green muscular fungus.

Release of Telenomus remus @ 50000/ha. 4 times (7-10 days interval) based on pheromone trap catching.

Use SNPV @ 250 LE (6X 10^9/LE)/ha or B.t. @1 k.g/ha, when large number of egg masses and early instars larvae are noticed.

Release Trichogramma chilonis @ 50000/ha. 2 times (7-10 days interval) based on on pheromone trap observation.

Release of Bracon hebetor @ 5000/ha. two times at 7-10 days interval .

Spray insect pathogenic fungus Nomuraea rileyi @10^13 spores/ha for controlling early instars.

Release larval parasitoid apanteles africanus @ 5000/ha.

Use 5% neem seed kernel extract on need basis.

Chemical Control

Apply insecticides only if the insect population crosses the ETL.

Apply Methyl parathion 2% dust @ 20 kg/ha or spraying of monochrotophos 36 SL or Quinolphos 25 EC @ 1500 ml or Endosulfan 35 EC @1250 ml or Trizophos 40EC @ 800 ml in 700-800 lit of water. Poison bait with monocrotophos 36 SL or carbaryl, rice bran, jaggery and water can be used to control the grown up larvae.


Red Hairy caterpillars (Amsacta albistriga)

Identification & Monitoring

The adults emerge from the soil at the onset of the south-west monsoon (usually in June).

They are brownish-white moths with a 40-50 mm wing span.

The larvae are light brown color and turns reddish as they grow and are haired and are up to 5 cm long.

Erection of light traps soon after monsoon for monitoring pest.


Caterpillars cause defoliation of the crop as they are voracious feeders and often migrate from one field to another devastating whatever crops come their way.

After about 30-40 days of feeding the larvae burrow into soil, usually in the undisturbed soil of field or non-cropped areas and pupate.

Cultural Control

Deep summer ploughing

After the kharif crop, the field should be ploughed to expose the pupae to predatory birds.

Early sowing is done to escape insect pest damage.

Inter crop one row of castor for every 5 or 6 rows of groundnut.

Crop rotation with sorghum/pearl millet or maize should be followed.

Vegetative traps utilising Jatropa (wild castor) or Ipomoea prevent the migration of the grown up larvae.

Irrigate once to avoid prolonged mid-season drought to prevent pre-harvest infestation.

Mechanical Control

Install of 12 light traps/ha or bonfire in endemic areas.

Erection of light traps soon after the monsoon for 20-45 days and collecting and killing of adult moths are found very effective.

Collection and destruction of egg masses in the fields around light trap areas.

Install 10-12 bird perches/ha.

Two hand or mechanical weeding at 15-20 days after sowing.

Biological Control

Spray A-NPV (2X 10^5 PIB/I) and Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt).

Release of Bracon hebetor @ 5000/ha. two times at 7-10 days interval.

Conserve dominant predators like Coccinella sp. and Minochilus sexmaculata and parasitoids like Chelonus spp.

Conserve the bio control population of spiders, long horned grasshoppers, praying mantis, robar fly, ants, green lace wing, damsel flies/dragon flies, flower bugs, shield bugs, lady bird beetles, ground beetle, predatory cricket, earwig, braconids, trichogrammatids, NPV, green muscular fungus.

Use 5% neem seed kernel extract on need basis.

Inter cropping with pigeon pea, mung bean and soybean provides increase in population of spiders.

Population of coccinellids is higher on groundnut with maize, mung bean and soybean and Chrysoperla spp. is higher with maize and soybean intercrops.

Chemical Control

Apply safe chemical insecticides at recommended doses only if the insect population crosses the ETL.

Dusting of Methyl parathion 2% @ 25 to 30 kg/ha or Fanvalerate 0.4% @15-20 Kg/ha.

Spray Endosulfan 35 EC or Quinalphos 25 EC @ 1250 ml/ha or 500 ml of Nuvan (76%) 4 ml/ha to control full grown insect pests.


Gram pod borer (Helicoverpa armigera)

Identification & Monitoring

The moths have a wing span of 40 mm and dull brown forewings.

The creamy eggs are laid singly on young leaves and flower buds.

The larvae are dark greenish brown and do not have black spots on thorax.

Pupate in the soil

Use sex pheromone trap for monitoring adult male population.


Larvae feed on the foliage, prefers flowers and buds.

When tender leaf buds are eaten symmetrical holes or cuttings can be seen upon unfolding of leaflets.

Cultural Control

Deep summer ploughing

Intercrop one row of red gram for every 5 or 6 rows

Mechanical Control

Install pheromone trap @ 5/ha

Biological Control

Use Trichogramma chilonis @ 1 lakh/ha or Chrysoperla carnea @ 50000/ha at 40 and 50 days after sowing of groundnut can effectively check the pest.

Apply H-NPV @ 250 LE/ha or B.t (Bacillus thuringiensis) 1 kg/ha or 5% NSKE for monitoring eggs and early instars larvae.

Conserve the natural bio control population of spiders, long horned grasshoppers, praying mantis, robar fly, ants, green lace wing, damsel flies/dragon flies, flower bugs, shield bugs, lady bird beetles, ground beetle, predatory cricket, earwig, braconids, trichogrammatids, NPV, green muscular fungus

Chemical Control

Apply safe chemical insecticides at recommended doses only if the insect population crosses the ETL.

Endosulfan in combination with gingelly oil or monocrotophos is found effective.

Quinolphos 2ml or Chloropyriphos 3ml or Endosulfan 2ml /lit of water


Sucking pests

Aphids (Aphis craccivora)

Identification & Monitoring

They are small-sized insects ( 2 mm long), pear shaped, green, greenish brown or greenish black in colour.

The nymphs are dark brown and turns to shiny dark adults

Adults are mostly wingless but few winged forms also seen.

It has 12-14 generations per year. 50-100 aphids/plant


Nymphs and adults suck sap from tender growing shoots, flowers, causing stunting and distortion of the foliage and stems.

They excrete honeydew on which sooty molds flow forming a black coating.

Aphids are also known to transmit peanut stripe virus and groundnut rosette virus complex.

Cultural Control

Timely sowing of the crop.

Varieties which are densely hairy and with stiff leaves interfere like Girnar 1

Mechanical Control

Handpicking and destruction of various insect stages and the affected plant parts.

Biological Control

Seed treatment with Trichoderma viride @ 4 gm/kg seed.

Apply NSKE 5% (neem seed kernel extract) to control sucking pests.

Augment the release of Cheilonenes sexmaculata @ 1250/ha.

Conserve bio agents like flower bugs (anthocorids), lady bird beetles (coccinellids), praying mantis, hover flies (syrphids), green lace wing (chrysopids), long horned grass hoppers and spiders.

Chemical Control

Apply safe chemical insecticides at recommended doses only if the insect population crosses the ETL.

Young crop may be applied with Monochrotophos 36SL 600ml/ha or Dimethate 30 EC @ 650ml/ha in 600 liter water.

Dusting of Endosulphan 4% dust at 1 kg a.i./ha would be effective in controlling aphids.


Jassids  (Empoasca kerri Bachlucha spp)

Identification & Monitoring

The eggs are inserted in to the leaf tissue close to the midrib or into the petiole.

The egg hatch in a week and nymphs in to adult in 10 days.

The infestation is high during August and September and February and March.


Both nymphs and adults suck sap from central surface of leaves, inject toxins resulting in whitening of veins and chlorotic patches especially at the tips of leaflets, in a typical ‘V’ shape.

Heavily attacked crop looks yellow and gives a scorched appearance known as ‘hopper burn’.

Cultural Control

Timely sowing of the crop and field sanitation.

Grow tolerant varieties like Girnar 1

Crop rotation with non-host crop.

Intercropping with pearl millet

Avoid groundnut-castor inter crop, it increases the infestation.

Irrigate once to avoid prolonged mid-season drought to prevent pre-harvest.

Mechanical Control

Collect and destroy the affected parts of the plant

Biological Control

Conserve bio agents like praying mantis, long horned grass hoppers, dragon flies spiders, green muscardine fungus.

Chemical Control

Apply safe chemical insecticides at recommended doses only if the insect population crosses the ETL.

Spray dimethoate 30EC @ 650ml/ha or Monochrotophos 36SL @ 600ml/ha in 600liter water.


Thrips  (Scirtothrips dorsalis, Thrips palmi)

Identification & Monitoring

These are small insects live in the flowers and folded leaflets.

These are about 10 mm long, pale cream in color and are hidden.

The eggs are laid into young tissues of the plant.

The nymphs become adult after 15 days through four instars.


Nymphs and adults lacerate the surface of the leaflets and suck the oozing sap resulting in white patches on lower surface of the leaves and distortion of young leaflets.

Severe infestations cause stunted plants.

Thrips palmi transmits peanut bud necrosis.

Cultural Control

Grow tolerant varieties like ALR 3, Robut 33-1, Kadiri 3 and ICGS 86031

Several groundnut accessions like 21018 have been identified as resistant to thrips.

Mechanical Control

Uproot and destroy severely infected plants.

Biological Control

Conserve bio agents like flower bugs (anthocorids), lady bird beetles (coccinellids), praying mantis, green lace wing (chrysopids), long horned grass hoppers, dragon flies and spiders.

Chemical Control

Apply safe chemical insecticides at recommended doses only if the insect population crosses the ETL.

Spray Monochrotophos 36SL 600 ml/ha or Dimethoate 30 EC 650ml/ha or Methyldemeton 25 EC 600 ml in 600 lit of water.

Spray per acre monocrotophos 320ml mixed with neem oil 1lit and 1kg soap powder mixed in 200lit of water twice at 10days interval.


Root and Pod feeders

Jewel beetle  (Sphenoptera indica)

Identification & Monitoring

The adult is shiny beetle, 10 mm long and 3 mm wide.

The eggs are laid singly on the main stem.

The larvae are slow movers having globular head and elongated, dorso-ventrally flattened body.

Population takes place in the larval tunnel.


The grub burrows into the stem, close to the soil surface and kills the plant.

Infested fields show dead and dying plants, which when pulled up and examined grub/pupa can be seen in hollowed stem.

Cultural Control

Grow tolerant varieties.

Deep ploughing in the summer.

Use well decomposed organic manure.

Mechanical Control

Manual destruction of infested plant stems may help in reducing its population.

Biological Control

Conserve braconids, dragon flies, trichogrammatids, NPV, green muscardine fungus

Chemical Control

Chemical insecticides should only be applied if the insect population crosses the economic threshold level (ETL).

Applying carbofuran granules in the planting row can be effective prophyylactic measure.

Apply 2.25 kg active ingradient per hectare of Carbofuran.


Termites (Odontotermes spp)

Identification & Monitoring

The termites favour red and sandy soils.

These are social insects, live in termitaria, in distinct castes, workers, kings and queen.

Eggs are laid on plants and in the soil.

‘Workers’ are small (4 mm) and have a soft, white body and a brown head


Termites penetrate and hollow out the tap root and stem thus kill the plant.

Bore holes into pods and damage the seed.

It removes the soft corky tissue from between the veins of pods causing scarification, weaken the shells, and make them liable to entry and growth of Aspergillus flavursthatproduces aflotoxins.

Cultural Control

Digging the termitaria and destruction of the queen is most important in termite management.

Use well rotten organic manure.

Harvest the groundnuts as soon as they are matured, early removal of the produce from the field will reduce the chances of termite damage to pods.

Clean cultivation

Irrigate the crop frequently

Thorough ploughing and frequent interculture

Mechanical Control

Avoid physical loss of the crop during harvesting.

Destruction of debris, termite nests and queen

Chemical Control

Apply safe chemical insecticides at recommended doses only if the insect population crosses the ETL.

Apply chlorpyriphos 20 EC or Lindane 1.3% to control termites.

Or apply dust of chlorpyriphos @ 30-40 kg/ha in soil before sowing.

Seed dressing with insecticides such as 6.5ml of chloropyriphos /kg of seed may reduce termite damage.


White grubs  (Holotrichia consanguinea, Holotrichia serrata)

Identification & Monitoring

It is a polyphagus pest.

Adults are 18-20 mm long and 7-9 mm wide.

The eggs are white, almost round.

The young grubs are translucent, white and 5 mm long.

Beetles emerge out of the soil within 3-4 days after the onset of rain.

Install light traps with the onset of rains and count the number of beetles per day.

Dig 100 X 100 X 20 cm pit @ 10 pits per ha, collect and count the number of beetles per pt.


Both adults and larvae are damaging stage

The larvae feeds roots and damage pods.

Grubs feed on fine rootlets, resulting in pale, wilted plants dying in patches.

Cultural Control

Deep ploughing in summer.

Always use well decomposed organic manure it attracts the adult beetles.

Partial or complete lopping of host plants and retaining of a few most preferred host trees in the area for congregation of white grub adults.

Crop rotation with sorghum/pearl millet or maize.

Early sowing to avoid damage due to insect pest.

Standing crops of fodder, sugarcane etc. are also protected.

Mechanical Control

Collection and destruction of white grub adults from host trees around the field.

Biological Control

Conserve braconids, dragon flies, trichogrammatids, NPV, green muscardine fungus.

Chemical Control

Apply safe chemical insecticides at recommended doses only if the insect population crosses the ETL.

Spray should be undertaken as a community approach and should be repeated after every rainfall till the middle of July.

Spraying the trees close to the field with Chlorpyriphos 20 EC @ 2 ml/lit of water soon after first monsoon showers for 3-4 days in the late evening hours kills the adult beetles and reduces root grub infestation.

Seed treatment with chlorpyriphos 20 EC ( 6.5 to 12.5 ml/kg seed) is found effective.

In case of severe infestation apply 10% phorate @ 10 kg/ha.


Storage pests

Groundnut bruchid  (Empoasca kerri Bachlucha spp)

Identification & Monitoring

The adult is a brown beetle about 4-7 mm long and 5 mm wide , with large hind legs.

The eggs are milky-white in color .


The larva burrows through the pod wall and starts eating the seed.

The damage can be diagnosed by the appearance of “windows” on the pod wall made by the grub before pupation, to facilitate adult emergence.

Cultural Control

Dry the pods to optimum kernel moisture level of about 7 %.

Store the pods in polythene-lined gunny bags and fill the top surface of the bag with a layer of 3 cm ht. sand.

Mouth of bags should not be stitched or closed to avoid germination loss.

Care should be taken to avoid breakage

Broken seeds should not be stored for long periods.

Dust an inert substance such as ABCD (attapulgite-based clay dust)

Chemical Control

Chemical insecticides should only be applied if the insect population crosses the economic threshold level (ETL).

Pods mixed with ABC (Attapulgite based clay) dust (5 g/kg pods) remain free from bruchid infestation for one year.

Pods for seed purpose can be treated with thiram (3 g/kg pods) and kept free from infestation for one year.

Celphos fumigation (3 g tablet per sack of groundnut (40 kg)) is also found effective in controlling the pest.


Harvesting and Post harvesting Handling

In developing countries like India Groundnuts are usually harvested manually using cheaper human labour, groundnut harvesting and curing operations are highly mechanized in the developed countries such as USA.

The mechanization has reduced the harvest periods and labour requirements, but has increased growers’ capital requirements and technical knowledge requirements and contributed to processes and marketing problems.

Improper harvesting and curing practices often contribute to significant losses during harvesting and post – harvest operations, negating good groundnut production practices.

Poor and inefficient harvesting and curing may adversely affect groundnut quality with respect to milling or shelling characteristics, mould development, oil quantity, seed germination and flavour.

Groundnut harvesting involves the removal of groundnuts from the ground and separating them from the soil and vine.

These operations may include field preparation, vine clipping, digging, shaking, winnowing and combining.

Groundnut curing refers to the process during which the moisture content of groundnut is reduced to a safe level for preservation of groundnut quality.

Along with the removal of moisture many physiochemical changes take place during the curing process, influencing the flavour and quality of groundnut.


Digging and stripping

Groundnut vines with intact pods may be lifted from the soil by manual labour or bullock – drawn blade harrows or tractor drawn diggers.

Even under ideal conditions of harvesting, however about 5 – 10% of pods are left in the soil.

The vines may also be uprooted with a country plough and the vines and pods then picked by manual labour.

The pods left over in the soil are also picked by hand.

Groundnut diggers drawn by a pair of bullocks or by a tractor are used in some parts of India.

Pods are stripped from the vines by several ways.

In bunch types, the plants are stacked in heaps with pod ends exposed to the sun.

The pegs become brittle with in a weeks time and they may be stripped by hand.

The vines with pods may be lifted out from the soil and dried in the field and the pod ends of the plants may be knocked against a cross bar to separate the pods.

In this operation some pods may get damaged, though this is a cheaper method of stripping.

A simple comb – type hand stripper and pedal – operated stripper are also available and used for bunch type groundnut where the pods are clustered at the base of the plant.


Time of digging

The total pod production increased continuously with growth period, but harvested yield reached a peak and then declined due to field losses at the longer growth period.

The percent of total yield lost in the digging and combining operations was relatively constant up to about 145 days below which the percent losses increased rapidly, about 40% of the total yield was lost after 175 days.

The physiological maturity indexes adopted to determine the optimum digging time must be employed in conjunction with other considerations during field curing such as general condition of vines, probability of frosts, rains etc., to optimize producer profits.

One of the most successfully used methods is based on the change in colour of the inside of the hull.

The inside of the hull darkens in colour as the pods mature. As a ‘Thumb rule’ the optimum time to dig is when about 75% of the pods turn dark in colour.

This indicates that a high percent of pods are now mature and field losses are likely to increase faster than new pod development of harvesting is delayed beyond this stage.


Drying methods

Solar drying

Groundnut drying under the sun, commonly followed in India, solar energy can be collected and stored in water use in heating air for drying Groundnuts.

Groundnuts can then be dried in conventional way using the solar heated air.

A solar Groundnut drying system, providing least 50% of the energy required to dry a wagon load of Groundnut to 20 to 10% moisture content on a 3 – day schedule during the harvest.

The solar energy systems have been found to be technically feasible for Groundnut curing through their economic feasibility depends on initial and operating costs of the additional equipment required and their potential use for drying other products in addition to Groundnut.


Heat pump systems

Drying of Groundnut water heat pump system involves two types of driers.

First when the air makes only one pass through the system and the second utilizing a closed air principle.

The energy efficiency ratio’s for the heat pump systems ranged from 10 to 12, meaning that heating with electrical resistance heaters required 10 to 12 times more energy than the heat pump systems.

The quantity of the Groundnut dried using the heat pump systems was comparable to that of other conventional systems.

Infrared drying

Infrared drying has been evaluated for drying, of groundnuts with different levels of initial moisture content by subjecting them to successive infrared exposures of 0.6 to 1 minute at high initial levels were found to be effective in reducing mould infection, but were extremely detrimental to the quality of groundnuts with respect of germination percentage of sound splits and flavour.

Vaccum drying

Vaccum drying of Groundnuts reported is effective to remove moisture rapidly up to 5% per hour. However, the percentage of sound splits was excessive at such high drying rates.



The harvested stock of Groundnuts contains a variety of extraneous material other than groundnuts, the types and quantities of such foreign material depends upon the adjustment and operation of the harvesting equipment, type and condition of soil and weather conditions.


Methods to reduce the incidence of Foreign material in Groundnut

S.NoForeign materialsBest conventional method(s) of preventionBest convention method(s) of removal.
1DirtHarvest when soil is not too wet or dry, control weeds,Screening.
2.RocksAvoid planting on rocks or pebble-type soilSpecific gravity
3.SticksRemove old crop residue before planting. Control weeds. Set groundnut diggers to cut taproots as shallow as possible.Aspiration and screening
4.Immature podsHarvest at optimum maturity.Screening, aspiration and specific gravity.
5.Weed fruitControl weeds, clip vines in weedy fieldsScreening and colour sorting
6Nut grass and RhizomesControl weeds.Screening and colour sorting



Like most other agriculture ‘crops’, groundnuts are semi perishable and their quality during storage can be deteriorated through microbial proliferation, insect and rodent infestation, loss of flavour, viability and rancidity due to biochemical changes as well as absorption of certain odours and chemicals.

Although clean and sound groundnuts can be stored for several years under suitable storage conditions, serious losses in milling quality may result when groundnuts are dried below 7% seed moisture content.

The studies indicated that the unshelled ground nut in bulk could be stored best at about 7.5% seed moisture content (w.b) at 10OC.

At these storage conditions, good quality unshelled groundnuts can be stored for at least one storage season (about 10 months) without significant loss in quality.



Groundnut oil, also known as peanut oil, is a mild tasting vegetable oil expressed from groundnut kernels. Groundnut oil is widely used in cooking, including frying, basting, and the manufacture of margarines and shortenings. Groundnut oil processing process, based on mechanical pressing technology, is generally grouped into three stages:


groundnut seeds preparation, groundnut pressing and rude groundnut oil refining.
First of all, the groundnut seeds need a thorough cleaning process to remove sand, stalk, plant debris and any other impurities. And then for the post cleaning, the groundnut seeds have to be prepared for pressing, which usually involves size reduction of the groundnut seeds by breaking them and then conditioning by adjusting their moisture content and temperature, while keeping the seeds hot for a period of certain minutes.

Second, the well prepared seeds are conveyed to the screw pressing machine, which is the most popular method of groundnut oil production. The machine’s screw warm pressed the groundnut seeds as it moves to advance where the space is smaller and smaller. Due to strong frication and high pressure, groundnut oil is pressed out. Besides, as the temperature in the machine’s pressing chamber rises, the output rate of groundnut oil also increases. Finally, the fresh groundnut oil seeps out through the small openings in the bottom of the pressing chamber.

Third, the fresh rude groundnut oil obtained from the pressing machine is clarified in a setting tank and then pumped through the filter press. The filtered crude groundnut oil will be pumped to the refinery for three stages of refining: neutralization, bleaching and deodorization.



Groundnuts, a staple food for many developing countries, deserves a closer look as an export commodity. Less than 6% of the world groundnut crop is traded internationally, with export sales averaging close to US$ 1 billion dollars per year. There is, therefore, scope for export growth in groundnuts.

Investing in groundnuts is a sustainable way to address the rising needs for both food and foreign exchange. Today’s exporters face two major challenges: ensuring food safety by preventing and controlling mycotoxin contamination of products and adapting groundnut supplies to demand for varieties best suited to specific end-uses.

ITC is focusing its technical assistance activities in the groundnut sector on helping African producers and exporters meet these challenges. Micaela Maftei, an ITC Senior Commodity Officer, reports.

Groundnuts are widely cultivated as staple food in tropical and sub-tropical developing countries, providing a valuable source of proteins, fats, energy and minerals. Most of the world’s groundnuts are produced and consumed in developing countries. Less than 6% of the world production is exported. Most of the edible groundnuts are not cultivated for export purposes. In other words, producers do not usually grow the groundnut varieties best adapted to specific export market uses, such as the manufacture of roasted, salted or coated nuts, snacks, chocolate-based products, or peanut butter.


Major Producers

China took advantage of market reforms, as well as increased use of high-yielding seed varieties and agricultural inputs (fertilizers, pesticides, insecticides, mechanization and irrigation), to recently overtake India as the world’s largest groundnuts producer. In China, over 3.6 million hectares are under groundnut cultivation and 6 million tons are produced yearly. India is the second largest producer, with surfaces under the crop exceeding 8 million hectares and outputs averaging 5.6 million tons per year. The United States, Nigeria, Argentina and Indonesia are the following largest producers, with annual outputs varying between 1 and 1.5 million tons per year.

Groundnut production in African countries fluctuated greatly, though it never exceeded 8% of the world output over the last decade. Yields per hectare are low, because of a combination of factors: unreliable rains; mostly non-irrigated cultures; small-scale, traditional farming with little mechanization, outbursts of pests and diseases and use of low-yielding seed varieties; and increased cultivation on marginal land. Political instability and the frequently unsupportive oilseed policies have also played their role.


Yields vary 

Yields in producing countries vary significantly, depending on climate, soil, farming systems and seed varieties. The spectrum is wide: over 2 tons per hectare (t/ha) in the United States; 1.8-1.9 t/ha in China and Argentina; about one t/ha in Indonesia, Brazil, Thailand, Viet Nam, Mexico, South Africa and Myanmar; and only 0.5-0.7 t/ha in the other African countries and in India (the second largest producer).


Trade is concentrated

Both export and import trade in groundnuts is very concentrated.


The seven largest net exporters of groundnuts supplied about 87% of the world export trade in 1997/98: Argentina (245,000 tons); India (240,000 tons); United States (230,000 tons); China (185,000 tons), Viet Nam (98,000 tons); South Africa (40,000 tons) and the Gambia (20,000 tons).



Similarly, the five largest net importers purchase about three-quarters of current world imports: European Union (42%); Indonesia (13%); Canada (8%); Singapore (5%); Malaysia and the Philippines (3% each).

The positioning of the largest net exporters has shifted considerably during the last six years. China, although it has become the largest producer, lost over half of its shares in the export market of hand-picked selected groundnuts, mainly because of the increase of the domestic consumption. India moved up to second place; Argentina and Viet Nam doubled their shares, while exports from the United States decreased slightly, facing strong competition from Argentina.

World export trade averaged 1.2 million tons of groundnuts, valued at over US$ 948 million per year over the last five years, out of which nearly two-thirds was provided by developing countries. About 80% of exports consisted of edible groundnut varieties, with the remaining 20% of groundnuts used for crushing.

International prices of edible groundnuts fluctuated widely over the last decade, influenced by both market fundamentals and seasonal factors.


Using groundnuts: Global consumption patterns

To maintain or increase market share, exporters need to adapt the type of groundnuts to consumer requirements.

About 48% of the world output is for food uses and 52% is crushed, producing groundnut oil and cake. Consumption patterns vary widely from country to country. In the United States, a fifth of the crop is exported; 10% is crushed for oil; nearly 60% is directly used in the manufacture of food products. Argentina and South Africa, typical export-oriented groundnut producers, export 70-75% of their crop either as edible or oil nuts, or as processed groundnut oil and cake. In Viet Nam, groundnuts are cultivated in order to improve soil fertility, to break rice monoculture and to provide additional income to farmers through exports.

Asian countries, particularly Indonesia, consume large amounts of groundnuts as sauces (satay) and gravies. In the United States and Europe, groundnuts are most frequently used as salted, dry-roasted and speciality nuts (such as honey roasted, hickory smoked or chilli-flavoured), snacks, or for the manufacture of peanut butter, confectionery and chocolate-based products.


Matching export groundnut varieties and end-uses

Different varieties of groundnuts are used for different food products. The largest – red-skinned Virginia kernels – are used for cocktail and salted nuts. The medium-sized Runner and the small Spanish varieties are best for peanut butter, oil and candies. Valencia variety, with long shells containing three-four kernels each, are in demand for roasting in shell.

New breeding technologies have produced a range of improved varieties, adapted for particular end-uses or to specific growing conditions. Groundnuts with good shelling yields, high oil or protein content, or particular kernel shapes and sizes have been developed for specific end-uses. High-yield varieties have been developed for specific locations, with characteristics such as early maturation; resistance to drought, diseases and pests; suitability for mechanized harvesting; adaptation to particular types of soils or farming requirements.


ITC helps the groundnut sector to improve exports

ITC has taken several steps to build awareness among local business communities on how to improve groundnut exports. As part of this process, ITC has carried out market research and disseminated technical information that can help groundnut exporters to better reach consumer markets. Last year, ITC published a market survey on export opportunities for edible groundnuts in selected European markets, HPS Groundnuts: A survey of selected European markets. The publication also addresses aflatoxin contamination issues, which are the root cause impeding export development of groundnuts from developing countries.

Awareness campaign targets African business communities

This research was followed up by a series of workshops in five African countries – the Gambia, Mali, Senegal, South Africa and Zimbabwe – selected because they already produce groundnuts, and/or have potential to increase their exports. Cooperative farmers and small land holders, seed producers and distributors, groundnut processors and traders, agricultural credit banks, as well as government officials in charge of agricultural and trade development were brought together for two-day events, to discuss practical ways to improve the quantity and quality of their groundnuts products, and to adapt exports to increasingly stringent import market requirements. Participants realized the benefits in taking a series of coordinated actions to improve groundnuts production and check its quality.


Common needs emerging from the meetings included:

  • developing national and regional groundnut sectoral and seed strategies that lead to increasing exports of edible groundnuts matching end-user needs;
  • implementing integrated aflatoxin management programmes, covering all contamination-related issues, including mould formation and spreading, detoxifying the product and routine monitoring;
  • encouraging regulatory measures to control the flow of contaminated shipments in national and international trade, and technical information and training in aflatoxin control and prevention;
  • establishing certified national quality control laboratories, in charge of issuing export quality certificates;
  • promoting exports through market prospecting and generic promotion of national products.



Adding value to African exports

In line with technical assistance needs identified through these seminars, ITC formulated a project aimed at improving income levels of groundnut producers and exporters in the Gambia, Malawi, Mali and Zimbabwe, by encouraging business communities to become more efficient and focus on edible groundnut production for export. The project foresees the following technical assistance activities:

  • market development and promotion missions in target import markets and the participation in specialized trade fairs;
  • training in export quality control, management and certification;
  • development of export labelling and generic promotion campaigns for products with specific origins;
  • technical support to selected enterprises in quality assessment, quality and yield payment systems adapted to specific local conditions, forecast of output and efficient HPS groundnut selection.

ITC welcomes readers’ views on both the technical cooperation activities foreseen by the project and interest of firms or national governments in participating in this project.


According to Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Indian Standard Institute (ISI) categories groundnuts, into three grades using different specifications as stated in the table below.

Grades of groundnuts required for milling % by weight (max)

S/n       Characteristics  Grade 1            Grade 2            Grade 3

1          Damaged and weevil kernels     0.5       1.5       3.0

2          Slightly damaged kernels           1.0       2.0       4.0

3          Shriveled and immature kernels             1.0       30.       6.0

4          Split and broken kernels           5.0       10.0     15.0

5          Nooks, % by weight (max)       1.0       2.0       3.0

6          Impurities         1.0       2.0       3.0

7          Admixture with other types       1.0       2.0       5.0

8          Total of 1-7 above (max)          6.0       12.0     30.0

9          Moisture content           6.0       6.0       6.0

10        Oil content on moisture free basis          48.8     46.0     42.0

11        Acid value of extracted oil (max)           2.0       4.0       6.0



  1. Edible groundnuts account for two-thirds of the total groundnut use in the United States.
  2. Popular confections include salted groundnuts, groundnut butter (sandwiches, candy bars, and cups), groundnut brittle, and shelled nuts (plain/roasted).
  3. Salted groundnuts are usually roasted in oil and packed in retail size, plastic bags or hermetically sealed cans. Dry roasted, salted groundnuts are also marketed in significant quantities.
  4. Groundnuts are often a major ingredient in mixed nuts because of their inexpensiveness compared to Brazil nuts, cashews, walnuts, and so on.
  5. The primary use of groundnut butter is in the home, but large quantities are also used in the commercial manufacture of sandwiches, candy, and bakery products.
  6. Boiled groundnuts are a preparation of raw, unshelled green groundnuts boiled in brine and typically eaten as a snack in the southern United States where most groundnuts are grown.
  7. More recently, groundnuts can be fried, where they can be eaten both shell and nut.
  8. Also groundnuts are used in cosmetics, nitroglycerin, plastics, dyes and paints


Export market: The major groundnut importers are the European Union (EU), Canada, and Japan. These three areas account for 78% of the world’s imports.

Export price: Groundnut unlike cashew nut is usually exported as kernel (i.e shelled groundnut) The export free on board (fob) price of groundnut varies from about USD 800-1,100/MT depending on the grade.

 Local price: The average local prices per metric tonne (MT) of the three

GradesLocal Price /MT
Grade INGN119,000.00
Grade IINGN116,000.00
Grade IIINGN110,000.00