By Dr Ali Muhammad Khushk & Aslam Memon
Groundnut in Pakistan is cultivated in Punjab, the NWFP, and
Sindh. In Sindh it is grown on limited areas under irrigated
conditions. This crop can be grown in areas where
precipitation is 50-90cm. Sandy soils are more suitable for
contains 50 per cent edible oil and 25 per cent
carbohydrates. It also contains some quantity of soluble
water, fibres and minerals. This can easily cover the gap
between demand and supply of edible oil. It is versatile and
can be used in wide range of products.
Timely harvesting of groundnut is an important factor for
getting higher yields like other crops. The total pod
production increases with growth period, but harvested yield
reach peak and then decline due to field losses at the
longer growth period.
Early digging results in lower maturity and lower yield.
Late digging results in more leftover losses in the soil and
high digging cost due to dry and hard soil. The optimum time
is determined by digging a few plants from the field and
counting the mature pods. Harvesting should be started when
70-75 per cent pods are mature.
After harvesting, the produce is cured by sun drying for
about 6-8 days to maintain the desirable flavour and
quality. At the time of digging, pods contain about 40-50
per cent moisture which should be reduced to 8-10 per cent
by curing for safe storage.
Well dried cleaned pods should be properly stored. Excessive
humidity in the store favours the fungus growth on the pods
which can damage the seed. During survey groundnut growers
reported that after harvesting they put their product in
open plot for five to six days for drying.
Groundnut harvesting consists of two operations viz.,
lifting of vines with pods intact from the soil and
separating of pods from the vines. Once groundnut is dug and
collected pods must be separated from vines by hand or
beaten and winnowed. This whole process is expensive, time
consuming and labour intensive. Profit can be enhanced by
mechanizing this process and reducing the cost of
production. For this purpose, a PTO driven FMI thresher,
commercially available with local manufacturers, can be
Shelling of the pods is done at intermediate stages as the
produce reaches the millers and exporters in the form of
kernels. Shelling reduces volume and transport charges but
it is disadvantageous to market the kernels as they easily
and quickly undergo deterioration and spoilage. Grading of
groundnut is a prerequisite before mechanical shelling to
keep the percentage of kernel breakage to a minimum.
Groundnut is harvested seasonally, but its consumption is
continuous. The market value of the produce is generally low
at harvesting time. So the grower needs storage facility to
hold a portion of produce to meet the feed and seed
requirements in addition of selling surplus produce when the
marketing price is favourable.
Traders and cooperatives at market need storage structures
to hold produce when the transport facility is inadequate.
The government also needs storage structures to maintain
buffer reserves to offset the effects produced by the
vagaries of nature. Hence, there is a necessity to store the
Like most other crops, groundnuts are semi perishable and
their quality during storage can be deteriorated through
microbial proliferation, insect and rodent infestation, loss
of flavour, viability and rancidity due to biochemical
changes as well as absorption of certain odours and
Although clean and sound groundnuts can be stored for
several years under suitable storage conditions, serious
losses in quality may result when groundnuts are dried below
seven per cent seed moisture content. The studies indicated
that the unshelled ground nut in bulk could be stored best
at about 7.5 per cent seed moisture content (w.b) at 100C.
At these storage conditions, good quality unshelled
groundnuts can be stored for at least one storage season
(about 10 months) without significant loss in quality.
When the groundnut is threshed and dried, it is transported
from the field to store houses by bullock carts or tractors
by the growers. Sometimes if the market price is favourable
the produce is disposed to the traders soon after drying.
The disposal of the produce, either at the village or at the
market yard is closely connected with financial needs of the
growers and sometimes indebtedness. The traders on
purchasing transport the produce to godown, or shops for
sale to consumers mainly through trucks and lorry. If the
produce is not properly bagged and handled, it will sustain
some losses during transportation.
In general most producers sell the grains at their door
steps in villages, to avoid transport. At village level
defective measures and weights are used by traders and the
prices paid to farmers are much lower than the regulated
In regulated markets some amenities are provided to growers
to secure maximum value for their produce. In market yards
several methods like cover system, open system and auction
system are adopted depending on the type of produce sold.
Since the rural banking system is improved the farmers are
out of the clutches of greedy private money lenders. In case
of groundnut, indirect marketing system is prevalent in the
study area. Most arrivals are spread over all the four
quarters of the marketing year during October.
Growers who are not capable of holding the produce and need
cash bring their produce to the market immediately. They
usually visit local and wholesale markets taking information
about the prices. It is not sold through action or
It has been observed that almost the entire function of
storage of groundnut pods for sustaining the crushing
operation is undertaken by the Padhy holders. They buy the
stock and sell it to traders who come from different
wholesale markets as they have contacts in wholesale
Assembly market is often situated close to farm gate,
generally in small towns. Shopkeepers, traders and retailers
participate as buyers in these markets. Most of the
transactions involve in small quantities. Traders in
assembly market are not approved by any government agency,
although in some cases, town committee (created by the local
government) charges an entry fee from traders. For large
quantities, farmers prefer to go to wholesale market.
Wholesale market is usually located in a district town or a
major divisional town. These markets are the main assembly
centres for fruit and vegetable surplus of surrounding
areas. Wholesale market has better storage, transportation,
communication and working condition for both buyers and
sellers than those in assembly market.
In these markets, traders who hold an official permit for
their activities have built permanent offices and auction
floor. Almost every trader (commission agent) has sufficient
space in the market to store the produce for few days (free
Agricultural marketing channels are concerned with the
concept of ‘marketable’ and ‘marketed’ surplus of farm
commodities that enter the process of circulation and
exchange. The purpose of exchange of commodities for money
and vice versa is to have access to a variety of products.
Here, agricultural marketing channels refer to the outlets
or routes through which commodities pass to reach to final