Cucumbers and gherkins are thought to have originated long ago in India, specifically between the Bay of Bengal and the Himalayan Mountains. Cucumbers and gherkins are probably among the oldest crops on the Indian subcontinent, and they are usually classified together because they belong to the same species, even though they are from different cultivar groups. Other research claims that their origins are from tropical Africa and Egypt, where they are thought to have been used by people for many generations. Today, Egypt remains among the largest producers of cucumbers and gherkins in the world. Interestingly enough, India, on the other hand, is not among the largest global producers. However, there is negligible domestic consumption, and almost all of its produce is exported, which makes it one of the world’s largest exporters of the vegetable.
China: the Unopposed Gherkin Leader
For quite some time now, China has been standing in the number one spot as the world's largest producer of cucumbers and gherkins. Following the Chinese cucumber farming sector are those of countries such as Turkey and Iran well to its West. These three countries have been able to maintain the top three positions for most of the new millennium, with China estimated to produce around three-fourths of the global total every year. In fact, there were an amazing 54.3 million tons of these vegetables produced in China last year. The same cannot be said of countries like the US, where production of these commodities has gradually decreased, with a reduction in annual output of about 20% since 2000. The same trend is being seen in Japan, while countries like Spain are actually moving upwards in cucumber production rankings. Japan’s decrease was largely influenced by catastrophic disasters that have been experienced in the past decade, as has been the case in Thailand. However, they remain to be among the top producers of cucumber and gherkins globally.
Shifts in Global Cucumber Production
Spain produced approximately 754,400 tons of cucumber and gherkins, which is a significant increment over that seen the previous year. Spain’s primary vegetable export trading partner continues to be Germany, where it supplies at least 37% of the demand for cucumbers and gherkins in terms of monetary value. Countries such as the Netherlands and Mexico have been able to maintain their positions among the top global suppliers of cucumber last year. Russia, meanwhile, is expected to maintain its position for some years to come, because domestic consumption of cucumbers in Russia is high and shows no signs of slowing down. According to recent market reports, Belarus is among the fastest growing exporters of cucumber and gherkins in the world, with an estimated increase of 11.3% in export value per year.
Cucumbers Grown in North America
The US production of the vegetable was approximately 747.6 thousand tons last year, which was a marked decline in comparison to years past. For example, in 2010, U.S production of cucumbers and gherkin was 1.42 million tons. Countries like Mexico and Canada are the top destination for most US-produced cucumbers and gherkins, although they each produce a good deal of such produce themselves. Specifically, Mexico had a 637.4 thousand ton annual production of these vegetables at last count, much higher than Canada’s 222.9 thousand tons of cucumber and gherkin produced per year. The trend seems to vary from year to year as, in previous years Canada had held a much stronger position.
A Vegetable of Commerce
Cucumbers and gherkins can be grown in many areas, and their production can be optimized if there is support from the relevant government bodies to develop better seeds and combat such attackers as fruit flies. The issues of import duties for jars or even bulk packing can also be causes for countries with high growing potentials, like India and the US, not doing better in the rankings. While not offering much of a nutritional punch, a global love for crunchy cucumbers has made these agricultural commodities an important contributor to the economies of many countries around the world.