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India is now world’s largest exporter of cucumber, gherkins worth $223 million FY-21

India is now world's largest exporter of cucumber, gherkins worth $223 million FY-21
Image Credit - pixabay

India is now the world’s largest exporter of cucumber, gherkins worth $223 million in the previous fiscal year 2020-21

According to the Commerce Ministry, India has become the world’s largest exporter of gherkins. During the months of April to October, India exported 1,23,846 Metric Tonnes of cucumber and gherkins worth $114 million (2020-21).

In the previous fiscal year, India’s export of agricultural processed product, pickled cucumber, often known as gherkins or cornichons, surpassed the $200 million mark. India shipped 2,23,515 Metric Tonnes of cucumber and gherkins worth $223 million in 2020-21.

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What is gherkin is it the same as a cucumber?
A pickled baby cucumber is known as a gherkin. The term ‘gherkin’ is derived from the Dutch word ‘gurken,’ which translates as ‘little pickled cucumber.’ Gherkins are one to two inches long and are sometimes known as baby pickles or little cucumbers.

Is there a connection between gherkins and cucumbers?
Cucumbers and gherkins are both members of the ‘cucumis sativus’ family, however, they come from separate cultivar groupings. Gherkins are typically picked when they reach a length of 3 inches. They will subsequently be pickled in vinegar or brine-filled cans.

Following the directives of the Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) launched a number of efforts in infrastructure development, product marketing in the worldwide market, and adherence to food safety management systems in processing units.


Gherkin cultivation, processing, and exports began in India in the early 1990s, with a small start in Karnataka and eventually expanded to neighboring states such as Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, and Telangana. In India, over 15% of the world’s gherkin production is grown.

Gherkins are shipped in two types: cucumbers and gherkins that have been processed and preserved using vinegar or acetic acid, and cucumbers and gherkins that have been provisionally preserved.

Gherkins are currently exported to over 20 countries, with main destinations being the United States, Germany, France, South Korea, Australia, Spain, Canada, Japan, Sri Lanka, Belgium, Russia, China, and Israel.

Aside from its export potential, the gherkin sector plays an important role in rural job development. Gherkin cultivation is carried out under contract farming by around 90,000 small and marginal growers in India, with a yearly production area of 65,000 acres.

Processed gherkins are exported in large volumes as an industrial raw material and in jars as a ready-to-eat product. Bulk production continues to dominate the gherkin market. There are roughly 51 big enterprises in India that produce and export gherkins in barrels and ready-to-eat consumer packs.

A gherkin farmer earns around ₹ 80,000 with a net income of ₹ 40,000 on average, producing 4 metric tonnes per acre per crop. Gherkin has a 90-day crop cycle, and farmers harvest two crops every year. To meet the needs of overseas consumers, international-standard processing units have been established here.

All gherkin manufacturing and exporting companies are ISO, FSSC 22000, BRC, IFS, and HACCP certified, or have all certifications. Many businesses have implemented social audits. This guarantees that all statutory benefits are provided to employees.

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APEDA’s Role

APEDA has played an important role in promoting the export of processed vegetables, providing financial assistance for infrastructure development and improving the quality of processed gherkins, product promotion in the international market, and the implementation of food safety management systems in processing units. The APEDA is also concentrating on gherkin value addition to boost the product’s export worth.

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