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Gherkin and Pomegranate Cultivation

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Published: Mon, 26 Feb 2018


Horticulture is an important component of agriculture accounting for a very significant share in the Indian economy. Rising consumer income and changing lifestyles are creating bigger markets for high-value horticultural products in India as well as throughout the world. Among these, the most important high-value export products are fruits and vegetables. This study was conducted to analyze the comparative advantage and competitiveness of pomegranate and gherkin which are the important foreign exchange earner among fruit and vegetable crops exported from India.

The primary data was collected from Tumkur and Bijapur district of Karnataka, India and secondary data was collected from concerned government institutions, APEDA and also from exporters of fruits and vegetables. The Policy Analysis Matrix (PAM) was selected as the analytical tool to analyse the export competitiveness, comparative advantage, and the degree of government interventions in the production and export of gherkin and pomegranate. The policy distortions were measured through indicators of PAM. Garret ranking technique was used to analyse the constraints in the production and export of the selected crops.

EPC of Gherkin (0.5) and pomegranate (0.45) values which found to be less than one indicates that producers are not protected through policy interventions. Whereas DRC (0.27 & 0.28) and PCR (0.43 & 0.59) values of Gherkin and Pomegranate respectively shows positive, social as well as private profit which indicates that, India has a competitive and comparative advantage in their production. The result for Garret ranking in case of gherkin shows that skilled labour and lack of superior quality are the major constraints in production and export of gherkin respectively. In case of pomegranate non availability of skilled labour, high incidence of pest and diseases, lack of transportation facilities, high residual effect of pesticide are the major constrain in production and export.

The overall result shows that the cultivation as well as export of gherkin and pomegranate is economically profitable and efficient.

Key Words: Gherkin, Pomegranate, PAM, EPC and DRC

List of Acronyms

Variable Definition
APEDA Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority
CIF Cost Insurance and Freight
Crores 10 million
DRC Domestic Resource Cost
EPC Effective Protection Coefficient
EU European Union
FAOSTAT Food and Agriculture Organization Statistics
FOB Free On Border
FYM Farm Yard Manure
ha Hectares
HEIA Horticulture Export Improvement Association
kg Kilogram
MHA Million Hectare
MT Million Tons
NHB National Horticulture Board
NPCI Nominal Protection Coefficient on Inputs
NPCO Nominal Protection Coefficient on Outputs
NPV Net Present Value
PAM Policy Analysis Matrix
PCR Private Cost Ratio
INR Indian Rupees
UAE United Arab Emirates
UK United Kingdom
UNCOMTRADE United Nations Commodity Trade Statistics
UNFAO United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization
USA United States of America

1. Introduction

1.1 Background

Indian agriculture is vested with the herculean responsibility of feeding over more than one billion people. Out of total, 72% of India’s population live in rural areas, further three-fourth of the rural populations depend on agriculture and allied activities for their livelihoods. The present growth in agriculture in India is hassle with problems most importantly, agricultural growth slowed down to 2.1% between 1998-99 and 2004-05. It is largely due to a decline in the food grain sector that grew at merely 0.6%. Given the high dependence of the poor on agriculture, the stagnation in this sector is currently threatening to stall poverty reduction in India (Reddy, 2007).

Given the present scenario, the immediate question to be addressed is how agricultural growth can be accelerated. The question can be answered through by diversifying the consumption pattern towards high value agricultural commodities in general and high value horticultural products in particular such as fruits and vegetables. In recent years there has been a great deal of interest among policymakers and trade analysts in the role of horticultural products as a principle means of agricultural diversification and foreign exchange earnings in developing countries. Horticultural products have high income elasticity of demand as income goes up the demand raises rapidly. It grows especially in middle and high income developing countries. As people are more cautious on health and nutrition, there is a paradigm shift from high fat, high cholesterol foods such as meat and live stock products to low fat and low cholesterol foods such as fruits and vegetables. As a result, the world has changed its attention towards high value agricultural products. Hence, it is crucial to be competitive in the world market to reap the potential gains of increased and growing world demand for horticultural products such as fruits and vegetables. Thus, the purpose of the present study attempts to evaluate the consequences of international trade and competitiveness of Indian horticulture with special reference to pomegranate and gherkin crops. In the recent past, these two crops got high export potential and earned good foreign exchange.


1.2 Studies on export of fruits and vegetables

There are many studies related to export of horticultural crops especially fruits and vegetables from India. Chiniwar (2009) explained the numerous opportunities and challenges of the horticulture sector and observed that there is a tremendous potential for Indian pomegranates in the global market. He examined the growth of pomegranate exports from India. The study revealed that the growth of pomegranate exports from India is moderate in comparision to the potential for its exports. Tamanna et al. (1999) examined the export potential of selected fruits from India by using Nominal Protection Coefficient (NPC). The results indicate that the exports of Indian fruits are highly competitive in the world market. Nalini et al. (2008) observed that India has made tremendous progress in the export of cucumber and gherkin products during the past 15 years (1990-2005). The export has increased by about 129 times with an impressive annual compound growth rate of 37.46 percent, as against only 4.38 percent in the world market. An increasing and high value of Revealed Comparative Advantage (RCA) and a positive and increasing value for Revealed Symmetric Comparative Advantage (RSCA) have indicated high potential for their export. One percent increase in volume of international trade in cucumber and gherkin may increase the demand from India by 5.96 percent. This indicates that India is highly competitive in the export of cucumber and gherkin. It has ample scope to further increase its export. Gulati et al. (1994) analyzed the export competitiveness of selected agricultural commodities and identified the constraints in the export of fresh fruits, vegetables, processed fruits and vegetables.

The above studies are related to export performance, growth, and constraints of fruits and vegetables. Most of these studies focused on aspects pertaining to export of fruits and vegetables. There are no studies on export policy especially related to efficiency and comparative advantage in world market. Therefore, the aim of the present study is to analyze the export competitiveness of pomegranate and gherkin by using Policy Analysis Matrix (PAM). The study has a high scope because competitiveness has become a key issue in the international market for export development of fruits and vegetables.


1.3 Research objectives

In the present study, the export competitiveness of high value horticultural crops of India is analyzed. To be very precise, the study analyzes the competitiveness of gherkin and pomegranate in the world market. It also compares the advantages and constraints in the export of these crops with the following objectives and proposed hypothesis, which will be tested based on the results and conclusion.

Specific objectives

    1. To assess the export competitiveness of Gherkin and Pomegranate


  1. To examine the production and export constraints of Gherkin and Pomegranate


    – Export of gherkin and pomegranate are competitive in international markets


1.4 Structure of the thesis

The study contains the results of the analysis of export competitiveness of horticultural crops in India. In the present study, opportunities are analyzed, constraints in production and export of gherkins and pomegranates from India. We further analyze the competitiveness and comparative advantage of these two crops in international market. The detailed information of this analysis is discussed in the following sections of the study.

The first section of the thesis gives us an introduction and background on the nature of the problem, facts on the dynamics and underlying causes diversifying the consumption pattern of high value horticultural commodities. Further, a brief overview of existing studies on Indian agricultural and horticultural growth, export performance, and constraints will be discussed. The research question is broken down into specific objectives and a possible hypothesis has been put forth.

The second section of the thesis will give a general overview of fruit and vegetable scenario in the world as well as in India. The section also explains the importance of selected fruit and vegetable by considering production, export and foreign exchange earnings which will help us to understand the export competitiveness of these crops from India.

The third section deals with methodological framework which deals with the concepts and competitiveness of high value horticultural crops from India focusing on the application of PAM model for the study. In the same chapter, the current literature and outline of the major definitions for competitiveness and comparative advantage are studied. The above proposed model will be used as a tool to address the research objectives followed by data description.

Fourth section highlights the findings of the research from the proposed model using collected information on pomegranate and gherkin cultivation, and their export. Finally, the proposed hypothesis is tested and the results inferred.

The final section summarizes the whole research findings and provides meaningful policy implications.


2. Scenario of fruits and vegetables in India and the world


2.1 World scenario of fruits and vegetables

2.1.1 High value agricultural production

Rising consumer income and changing lifestyles are creating bigger markets for high value agricultural products throughout the world. Among these, the most important high value export sector is horticulture, especially fruits and vegetables. The growing markets for these products present an opportunity for the farmers of developing countries to diversify their production out of staple grains and raise their income. Annual growth rates on the order of 8 to 10 percent in high value agricultural products is promising development (Fig.1), as the production, processing and marketing of these products create a lot of needed employment in rural areas. The rapid growth in high value exports has been part of fundamental and broad reaching trend towards globalization of the agro food system. Dietary changes, trade reform and technical changes in the food industry have contributed to the growth of high value agriculture and trade (World Bank, 2008).

2.1.2 World production of fruit and vegetables

The production of fruit and vegetables all over the world grew by 30 percent between 1980 to 1990 and by 56 percent between 1990 to 2003. Much of this growth occurred in China where production grew up by 134 percent in 1980 and climbed to 200 percent by 1990 (UNFAO 2003). At present the world production of fruits and vegetables reached to 512 MT and 946.7MT respectively (Table 1 & 5).

Vegetables: China is currently the world’s largest producer of vegetables, with the production 448.9 MT with an area of 23.9 MHA (47%) (Table 1), whereas India is in the 2nd position with the production of 125.8 MT with an area of 7.8 MHA (13%) followed by USA (4%), Turkey (3%) etc (Indian Horticulture Database, 2008) (Fig.2). Among the vegetable crops gherkin is considered for the study as it is one of the most important vegetable all over the world. Table 2 shows the international production of cucumber and gherkin from different parts of the world during 2007-08. China, Turkey, Iran, Russia and USA are the world largest producers of cucumber and gherkin (Table 3), whereas India position in the production is 34th but it reached 1st (Table 3) and 55th (Table 4) position in export of provisionally preserved and fresh cucumber gherkin respectively.

Table 1 Major vegetables producing countries in the world (2007-08)

Country Area(000 ha) Production(000 MT) Productivity(MT/ha)
China 23936 448983 19
India 7803 125887 16
USA 1333 38075 29
Turkey 996 24454 25
Russia 970 16516 17
Egypt 598 16041 27
Iran 641 15993 25
Italy 528 13587 26
Spain 379 12676 33
Japan 433 11938 28
Others 16957 222625 13
Total 54573 946774  

Source: Indian Horticulture Database (2008)


Table 2 International production of cucumber and gherkin (2007-08)

Country Production (MT) Share (%)
China 28062000 62.9
Turkey 1875919 4.21
Iran, Islamic republic 1720000 3.86
Russian federation 1410000 3.16
USA 920000 2.06
Ukraine 775000 1.74
Japan 634000 1.42
Egypt 615000 1.38
Indonesia 600000 1.34
Spain 510000 1.14
Mexico 500000 1.12
Poland 492000 1.10
Iraq 480000 1.08
Netherland 445000 1.00
India 120000 0.27
Others 5452024 12.22
World 44610943 100

Source: Author, FAO (2008)


Table 3 Major exporting countries of fresh cucumber and gherkin (2007)

Country Value (USD) Share (%)
Spain 557088 30.13
Mexico 437369 23.65
Netherland 419824 22.70
Canada 81707 4.42
Germany 44437 2.40
Turkey 40300 2.18
Greece 38920 2.10
Iran 27768 1.50
Belgium 25361 1.37
USA 16313 0.88
India 235 0.01
Others 159815 8.64
World 1849137  

Source: Data from Agricultural and Processed food products Export
development Authority (APEDA), India.


Table 4 Major exporting countries of preserved cucumber and gherkin

Country Value (USD) Share (%)
India 33476 49.39
China 16754 24.72
Turkey 4193 6.19
Netherlands 3397 5.01
Belgium 2670 3.94
Vietnam 40300 2.11
Sri Lanka 1003 1.48
Germany 925 1.37
Spain 596 0.88
USA 992 0.87
World 65040  

Source: U.N COMTRADE (2007)

Fruits: World fruit production has steadily risen for the past four years (see Appendix 3 ). Table 5 shows the largest fresh fruit producers from different countries during 2007-08. China is the world’s largest fruit producer, producing 19 percent of the world fruits. India ranks second in the list of world producer accounting 12 percent of the world’s production followed by Brazil, where 7 percent of the world’s fruit was grown. (Figure 3) As production is increasing in China at alarming rate compare to other top producing countries. Production growth almost averaged 6 percent per year in China, while production growth in India averaged 2.73 percent per year. The EU experienced the lower annual growth rate of 0.89 percent. Whereas, the production in USA and Brazil has been relatively constant over the period, with average annual growth rates of 0.61 percent for the former and 0.34 percent for the later. Other countries Mexico, South Africa and Chile have experienced slightly higher average annual production growth rates of 2.12, 2.56 and 1.3 percent respectively over the same period (FAOSTAT 2008). Among all fruits pomegranate is considered for the present study. Figure 4 shows India is the world largest producer of pomegranate with 900 MT (36%) followed by Iran (31%), Iraq (3%), USA (4%) etc. Over the years India’s export rate for pomegranate has grown steadily to worth of INR0.61 million (US$13741) in 2007-08 with the share of 1.2 percent (Table 6).


Table 5 Major fruit producing countries in the world (2007-08)

Country Area(000 ha) Production(000 MT) Productivity(MT/ha)
China 9587 94418 10
India 5775 63503 11
Brazil 1777 36818 21
USA 1168 24962 21
Italy 1246 17891 14
Spain 1835 15293 8
Mexico 1100 15041 14
Turkey 1049 12390 12
Iran 1256 12102 10
Indonesia 846 11615 14
Others 22841 208036 9
Total 48481 512070  

Source: FAO & Indian Horticulture Database (2008)


Table 6 Pomegranate export from different parts of the world (2007)

Country Value (USD) Share (%)
Thailand 172781 15.06
Spain 138911 12.11
Vietnam 84532 7.37
Mexico 67739 5.91
Netherlands 63858 5.57
Madagascar 53822 4.69
Israel 45219 3.94
Uzbekistan 44128 3.85
Colombia 40459 3.53
Azerbaijan 37977 3.31
France 36975 3.22
Germany 17750 1.55
India 13741 1.20
Others 309565 27.45
World 1127457 100

Source: Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export
Development Authority (APEDA), India


2.2 Scenario of fruits and vegetables in India.

Horticulture is an important component of agriculture accounting for a very significant share in the Indian economy. It is identified as one of the potential sector for harnessing India’s competitive advantage in international trade. Further it prepares India to achieve an overall trade target of 1% or more in the share of world trade. Meanwhile, making the country self-sufficient in the last few decades, horticulture has played a very significant role in earning foreign exchange through export.

Horticultural crops cover approximately 8.5 percent of total cropped area (20 MHA) (Table 7) with annual production of 207 MT, and productivity of 10.3 MT per hectare during the year 2007-08 (FAO & Indian Horticulture Database 2008). Among the horticultural crops fruits and vegetables play an important role, whereas exports of fruits and vegetables have increased over the years (Table 8). During 2004-05 export of fruits and vegetables was INR 13637.13 million as against INR 24116.57 million during 2006-07 (APEDA, 2008)

Table 7 Area, production and productivity of horticultural crops in India







(MT/ha) )

2001-02 16.6 145.8 8.8
2002-03 16.3 144.4 8.9
2003-04 19.2 153.3 21
2004-05 21.1 170.8 8.1
2005-06 18.7 182.8 9.8
2006-07 19.4 191.8 9.9
2007-08 20.1 207.0 10.3

Source: FAO & Indian Horticulture Database (2008)


Table 8 Export of horticultural produce in India

Products 2004-05 2005-06 2006-07
Quantity Value Quantity Value Quantity Value
Floriculture & seeds 34496 2871 42659 3922 50048 7713
Fresh Fruits & vegetables 1296530 13637 1465040 16587 1983873 24117
Processed fruits & vegetables 325293 9614 501826 13595 549949 17316
Total 1656319 261227 2009525 341051 258387 491459

Source: APEDA, India Note: Qty: MT, value : Million INR

Vegetables: In vegetable production, India is next to China with a production of 125.8 million tonnes from 7.8 million hectares with a share of 13 percent in relation to world production (Table 9). The per capital consumption of vegetables is 120 grams per day (APEDA 2009). In case of Fresh vegetable India’s export has been increased from INR 433.14 Crore in 2006-07 to Rs 489.49 Crore in 2007-08. Major Export Destinations of these vegetables are UAE, UK, Nepal, and Saudi Arabia. (APEDA, 2009)


Table 9 Area, production and productivity of vegetable crops in India







(MT/ha) )

2001-02 6156 88622 14.4
2002-03 6092 84815 13.9
2003-04 6082 88334 14.5
2004-05 6744 101246 15.0
2005-06 7213 111399 15.4
2006-07 7584 115011 15.2
2007-08 7803 125887 16.1

Source: FAO & Indian Horticulture Database (2008)

Among all vegetables gherkin is considered for the present study due to following reasons. India’s export of gherkin has been steadily increased since 1997-98. It accounts for 24,490 tonnes of gherkins having an export potential of INR 50.27 crore as against 35,242 tonnes worth of INR 69.86 crore in 1999-2000 (Venkatesh, 2003). In recent year gherkin export has been increased to 61.5 million tonnes with a trade value of INR1465.5 million during 2007-08 (UNFAO Export Data, 2009).

2.2.1 Production and export importance of gherkin in India

Gherkin crop is being selected for the present study. It is regarded as HEIA crop especially a hybrid crop. Gherkin cultivation and processing started in India in the early’ 90s and presently cultivated over 19,500 acres in the three southern states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. Although gherkin can grow virtually in any part of the country, the ideal conditions required for growth prevail in these three states where the growing season extends throughout the year. It requires adequate water and temperature between 15-36 degree centigrade and the right type of soil. The crop takes 85 days to reach the required maturity level. Productivity is approximately four to five tonnes per acre and the best months are from February to March followed by June to August. India is a major exporter of provisionally preserved gherkin. Table 10 & 11 shows the cucumber and gherkin export from India. In India, Karnataka stands first in export, where cultivation is steadily growing since 2001-02 accounting for a worth of INR 1200 million. During 2006-07 gherkins accounts to INR 3133 million which has been exported (Table 12).


Table 10 Cucumber and gherkin exports from India (2007-08)

Country Value( Million INR) Quantity (Tonnes) Share (%) )
UAE 1.96 142.75 17.55
Bangladesh 1.92 290.00 17.17
Netherland 1.78 93.10 15.92
Russia 1.66 83.50 14.91
Estonia 0.80 43.94 7.17
Nepal 0.75 74.42 6.75
Oman 0.75 70.00 6.74
Spain 0.55 31.82 4.95
France 0.47 20.21 4.27
Others 0.51 26.42 4.56
Total 11.20 876.18 100


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