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   Crops Groundnut


Groundnut (Arachis hypogaea L.)

Groundnut is a self pollinated, allotetraploid (2n=4x=40) with a genome size of 2891 Mbp.

Groundnut is grown on nearly 23.95 million ha worldwide with the total production of 36.45 million tons and an average yield of 1520 kg/ha in 2009 (FAOSTAT 2011).  China, India, Nigeria, USA and Myanmar are the major groundnut growing countries. Developing countries in Asia, Africa and South America account for over 97% of world groundnut area and 95% of total production. Production is concentrated in Asia (50% of global area and 64% of global production) and Africa (46% of global area and 28% of global production), where the crop is grown mostly by smallholder farmers under rainfed conditions with limited inputs. Between 2000 and 2009, the annual global production increased marginally by 0.4%, the area by 0.3% and yield by 0.1% (Figure 1).


Figure 1. Three-year moving average for groundnut area, production and pod yield; and number of varieties released (3-year total) globally.


During the same period in Asia, groundnut area declined by 1.36 million ha, an annual decline of 1.1%. However, the annual decline in production was only 0.1% due mainly to a 0.9% annual increase in productivity (1970 kg/ha in 2009) (Figure 2).


Figure 2. Three-year moving average for groundnut area, production and pod yield; and number of varieties released (3-year total) in Asia.



In Africa both groundnut area and production grew during the 2000-2009 period. The groundnut area grew by 2.17 million ha, an annual increase of 1.9%. The annual increase in production was 1.5%, crossing the 10 million ton level in the year 2009. However, grain yields declined by 0.4% annually and remained below 1000 kg/ha during the entire decade with the exception of 2006 (Figure 3).


Figure 3. Three-year moving average for groundnut area, production and pod yield;and number of varieties released (3-year total) in Africa.


In Asia, the major gains in production came from China, India, Myanmar, Indonesia and Vietnam.  In the 2000-2009 decade, the annual growth of groundnut area and yield in Myanmar was over 3.0% resulting in a 5.3% annual increase in production to reach 1.36 million tons in 2009. The groundnut area remained the same during 2000-2009 in India (6.5 million ha) and Vietnam (0.24 million ha), but both groundnut production and yield in Vietnam showed an annual growth of 3%, while in India, the increase in annual groundnut production and yield was negligible. In China, area declined by 1.1%, but pod yield increased by 1.1% annually, thus not affecting the total groundnut production in the country, which remained at 14.7 million tons in 2009.

In Africa, unlike in the 1980s, groundnut production showed a good recovery during 2000-2009. Yields increased from 600-800 kg/ha in the 1980s to 900-1050 kg/ha during 2000-2009 (Figure 3). In Nigeria and Ghana, groundnut yields were above 1000 kg/ha in 2009. Groundnut production in WCA averaged 7.3 million tons (78% of Africa) from 72% of groundnut area in Africa. Nigeria and Senegal are the largest producers in WCA accounting together for about 45% of total African production. Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso are also important groundnut producers. During 2000-2009, the groundnut area grew annually by 2.6% in Nigeria, but the yield declined by 3.3% annually resulting in stagnation of groundnut production at 2.9 million tons. In the same period, in Senegal, there was no apparent change in groundnut area (1 million ha), production (1 million tons) and yield (around 960 kg/ha). An annual increase in yield of 3.3% in Ghana and 2.0% in Niger was recorded. In ESA, Tanzania (3.8% annual) and Malawi (2.4% annual) showed substantial increase in yields between 2000 and 2009. In Sudan, yields increased by 3.5% annually but the groundnut area declined by 5.5% annually.

Cultivars released

Since 1986, our NARS partners have released 138 improved cultivars using ICRISAT-developed breeding materials – 70 improved cultivars in 14 countries in Asia, including 23 in India, and 68 improved cultivars in 22 countries in Africa.

Impacts in Asia

A drought tolerant groundnut variety, ICGV 91114, introduced through farmer-participatory varietal selection has spread to 25,000 ha of the 0.8 million ha groundnut area in the Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh, India. It has been released for cultivation in three states of India - Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and Karnataka. Another drought tolerant variety, ICGV 00350, is gaining popularity in the states of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.


Spring season cultivation of groundnut is expanding in North India.  In Uttar Pradesh, India, spring season groundnut cultivation reached 261,950 ha in 2010.

In Vietnam, with the introduction of the new autumn-winter cropping season and improved varieties, yields increased from 1620 kg/ha in 2002 to 2110 kg/ha in 2009. Consequently, the groundnut production has increased from 0.40 to 0.52 million tons.

Improved bacterial wilt resistant farmer-preferred varieties, Zhonghua 6, Yuanza 9102 and Yueyou 200 (developed from ICRISAT’s advanced breeding lines) are slowly replacing the local varieties in Hubei province in China. A high yielding variety, Huayn 23 (ICGV 87187) was recently released for cultivation.

Impacts in Africa

Farmer-participatory varietal selection trials speed variety release and benefits to farmers, especially women farmers. Farmer-preferred varietal selections carried out in Mali, Niger and Nigeria using a mother-baby trial approach during 2007-10 has resulted in the release of four varieties in Niger; and two are recommended for release in Mali.


To facilitate the availability of improved groundnut seeds, community based seed production and marketing is being promoted. Seed producers were linked to farm-input shops to market the seeds; they could also sell seed through village markets. This has enhanced availability of improved variety seeds. 

In Tanzania, for the first time, six new rosette resistant groundnut varieties were released during 2010. A survey conducted in Uganda three years ago confirmed that more than 50% of the groundnut area was occupied by improved varieties.  The release of new red-seeded rosette resistant farmer/market preferred variety ICGV-SM 93535 in 2010 will stimulate increased adoption of improved cultivars in Uganda. 

It is estimated that improved groundnut varieties currently occupy more than 60% of the total area under groundnuts in Malawi.  We are currently conducting a countrywide survey in Malawi to confirm the extent of adoption. 

Groundnut core and mini-core collections and a reference set representing diversity of the global collection have been developed and are available for crop improvement programs globally.

by ICRISAT. All rights reserved.