Peanuts, or commonly known as legumes or groundnuts, are packed with several health benefits. The nuts contain monounsaturated fats and other nutrients that are healthy for the functioning of the heart. Peanuts are also a rich source of antioxidants such as oleic acid responsible for the lowering of deaths from coronary heart diseases. The resveratrol found in nuts improves the blood flow in the brain and reduces the risk of stroke. Peanut cultivation began in South America dating back to 7500 years ago. In the 1st century, the plant reached Mexico where it further spread to North America, China, and Africa. The peanut is currently a common crop planted around the world. The following is a list of countries where peanuts are grown:
1. China - 16,685,915
China grows more peanuts than anywhere else in the world. The production of peanut in the country contributes significantly to the economy. In China, groundnuts are mainly grown in seven regions according to the ecological zoning. 70% of the nuts are produced in the provinces of Jiangsu, Shandong, Guangdong, and Henan. Household Responsibility of Cultivation System in China has led to an increased production of peanuts due to the incentive of semi-private ownership. The market economy for peanuts has also contributed to the increase in the yield per ha. China managed to produce 16,685,915 metric tons of groundnuts according to FAO. The country accounts for 8% of the world peanut export.
2. India - 6,857,000
India is the second largest peanut producer in the world. The nuts are produced in different variety including Spanish, bold, and red natal. Groundnuts are primary sources of oilseed crop in the country and bridge the vegetable deficit in the country. The crop is planted in two cycles and harvested in March and October thus making the nuts available throughout the year. In India, the nuts are grown in Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Orissa, Karnataka, and Maharashtra. India produced 6,857,000 metric tons of peanuts in 2016. The peanut major export destination for India includes Indonesia, Pakistan, and Malaysia.
3. Nigeria - 3,028,571
Nigeria is the largest groundnut producer in Africa accounting for 30% of the total Africa’s nut production. The nuts are mainly grown in the dry areas of Nigeria including Kano, Kwara, Sokoto, Zamfara, and Kaduna. Nuts are used in Nigeria to produce cooking oil and a source of protein for both human and animals. Nigeria produced 3,028,571 metric tons of peanuts according to the FAO report. Groundnuts account for 70% of the total export earnings for the country. Nigeria mainly exports its nuts to Indonesia and European Union.
Other Peanut Producers
37% of world nut production comes from China, 25% come from Africa, 21% originate from the America, and 6% come from the Oceania. The other primary nut producers include the US, Sudan, Indonesia, Myanmar, Senegal, Argentina, and Vietnam. The major exporters include India, Argentina, US, China, and Malawi while the major importers include Netherlands, European Union, Indonesia, Mexico, Germany, and Russia. Groundnuts are mainly cultivated in areas with sandy loam soil especially in arid and semi-arid areas. Apart for human consumption, the nuts are also exported as animal feeds.