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Commodity
GUAR or CLUSTER BEAN
Description | Overview | History | Cultivation pattern | Guar producing countries | Indian guar market | Major trading centers
Description

Guar, also known as cluster bean, is an annual legume crop that provides with a natural source of hydrocolloid (substance that forms thick solutions at low concentrations with water). Guar plant is a rough to touch, bushy plant that has the ability to dwell even in the drought like conditions. This small, purple flowered, pointed leaved plant ranges from 2-9 feet in height. It is consumed as a bean, livestock fed and also in the form of manure in the fields.

The seeds of the guar plant have three parts i.e. the germ, the endosperm and the husk. The popular guar gum, which used in mining, petroleum drilling and textile manufacturing sectors, is obtained from the endosperm of the seed of the plant. The gum is refined to make a yellowish white powder and it is consumed worldwide in this powder form only.

Overview

Guar is basically a crop that is cultivated mostly in the arid and semi arid areas as it is drought resistant. That is why the Southern Asian continent suits well to the cultivation of this crop especially the Indian subcontinent. The powder made after refining the gum obtained from the plant makes an important raw material in many industries. This powder has some unique characteristics like grease resistance, thickening agent, capacity to bind water, high viscosity and the capability to function in low temperatures which makes it a highly popular in those sectors. Among other by- products of guar, guar gum powder is the main marketable commodity.

The world’s total production of guar figures around 7.5 to 10 lakh tons of guar every year. The production list of guar is dominated by India as a leading producer of this crop. The consumption pattern of guar seeds is largely influenced by the demands from the petroleum industry of United States of America and the oil fields in the Middle East as the derivative products of these seeds are quite useful in the petroleum drilling industries. United States alone constitute to around 40 thousand tons of guar and its derivatives demand. Also, in rest of the world, the trend of consumption has increased with time that has lead to the introduction of this crop in many countries.

India is also the world leader in the exports of guar and it’s by-products followed by Pakistan. The major countries indulged in the exports of guar gum are

  • India

  • Pakistan

  • USA

  • Italy

  • Morocco

  • Spain

  • France

  • Greece

  • Germany

The world market of guar is estimated at 1.5 lakhs tons annually. The major importer countries of the crop are

  • Canada

  • China

  • Chile

  • Australia

  • Austria

  • Brazil

  • Germany

  • Italy

  • Japan

  • United Kingdom

  • USA

  • Ireland

  • Sweden

  • Greece

  • Portugal

  • Mexico

 

History

Being a crop of the arid regions, the origination of guar is controversial as different people have different opinions about it. The actual place of origin is not known but it is believed that it grew wildly in the hot and arid areas of Africa or the deserts of Middle East. The Arab people first domesticated guar to feed their horses with it. When the trade started flourishing in the Middle East during the silk route trading days, the traders brought with them the pods of guar wherever they went and as a result the seeds of this crop got scattered in those countries. This is how guar was introduced into India.

 

India also being a hot weathered country suited well for the crop to dwell properly. The regions in the country possessing desert lands like Gujarat and Rajasthan helped guar to flourish and gain importance as there is a small number of vegetables that can be grown in such areas. This helped the crop to diversify its uses from animal feed to human consumption as well. Guar was introduced into the United States in 1903 by India.

 

Guar was not known for its industrial application till in the times of World War II, when there was shortage of locust bean crop and the paper and textile industry of the world was searching for a substitute. They found as efficient alternative in the form of guar gum and since then, this derivative of guar ruled out locust bean from this scenario and it was readily accepted for application in many other industries.

Cultivation pattern

Guar crop requires fertile, medium textured sandy soil types and a hot and dry climate to grow and prosper well. Also it needs a right and appropriate amount of rainfall, as it is a key factor for a high yield. This crop has earned so much popularity because it is one of the best kinds among a few crops that can be produced in the desert areas. It also has soil fixing characteristics that makes it fit well into a crop rotation cycle. It is a short duration crop and is harvested within 3 to 4 months of its plantation. The long deep taproot system enables the plant to grasp all the water in the soil making it an ultimate drought resistant crop.

In most of the regions of its cultivation including India, it is cultivated as a khariff crop. The sowing period is in the months July and August right after the first shower of the monsoon and the harvesting period is in the months October and November. This shows that guar is clearly a rain dependent crop. If the rainfall levels fluctuate during the year, it strongly influences the yield of the crop.

Guar producing countries


Guar crop is produced in the following countries

  • India

  • Pakistan

  • Sudan

  • USA

  • South Africa

  • Brazil

  • Malawi

  • Zaire

  • Australia

India leads the list of the major guar producing countries of the world contributing to around 75 to 80% in the world’s total production of around 7.5 lakhs to 10 lakhs tons. Pakistan follows India in the list with 10 - 15% share in the world’s total produce. The most important by-product of this crop i.e. guar gum is obtained through the processing of endosperm of the seeds of guar. This product is vastly produced in the countries such as USA, Germany, China, Italy, South Africa, and United Kingdom though these countries are not really indulged in the production of guar as a crop.

Production of guar in India

India produces 600000 lakh tons of guar annually i.e. the maximum level of production in the world. It contributes to around 80% share in the world’s total production. The major producing regions of this crop in India are

  • Rajasthan

  • Gujarat

  • Haryana

  • Punjab

  • Uttar Pradesh

  • Madhya Pradesh

  • Tamil Nadu

  • Maharashtra

  • Karnataka

  • Andhra Pradesh

Rajasthan can be termed as the largest guar producing state in the world as it dominates the Indian production scenario contributing to around 420000 tons of this crop i.e. over 70% of the total production in India. Haryana and Gujarat place themselves at the second and third positions regarding the production in India with 12% and 11% respectively. In Rajasthan, the districts where guar production is done are Churu, Bikaner, Jaisalmer, Barmer, Nagaur, Hanuman Garh, Jodhpur, Ganganagar, Jaipur, Sirohi, Dausa, Jhunjhunu and Sikar. The districts in Haryana indulged in the production of guar are Bhiwani, Gurgaon, Mahendragrh and Rewari and the districts in Gujarat are Kutch, Banaskantha, Mehsana, Sabarkantha, Vadodara and Ahmedabad.

Indian guar market


India has been a dominant player in the context of guar and guar gum in the world market. The Arab traders introduced the crop in India and the place responded well to the crop’s cause. It has been the major producer of guar seeds in the world. India’s production contributes to 80% of the world’s total production figuring up to 6 lakh tons. Rajasthan wholly retains the credit for India’s position producing 70% of the production itself. But it has been observed that there is a lack of stability in India’s performance due to the fluctuations in the rainfall level in the country.

Guar is largely consumed as a vegetable in the Indian subcontinent. It is also used in making pickles. 25000 tons of the total production in the country constitutes to the domestic market. Guar gum has a vast range of industrial applications and the major share of demand comes from various industrial sectors only.

India is the leading net exporter of guar seeds and guar gum. The country exports over 117000 tons of guar and its derivatives, which is comprised by 33000 tons of refined split guar gum, and 84000 tons of treated and pulverized guar gum. The net worth of the Indian exports is estimated over Rs 500 crores. The major importing countries of Indian guar products are

  • United States of America (12000 tons)

  • Germany (5200 tons)

  • France (1800 tons)

  • United Kingdom (1200 tons)

  • South Africa (1000 tons)

  • Netherlands

  • Italy

  • Japan

Market Influencing Factors

  • Changes in production due rainfall fluctuation
  • Demand and supply mismatch
  • Hoarding and black marketing
  • Government policies
Major trading centers of guar


The major trading centers of guar and its derivatives in India

  • Jodhpur

  • Bikaner

  • Nokha

  • Nagaur

  • Merta

All the above-mentioned markets are in Rajasthan.

Guar is also traded in the various Indian commodity exchanges like National Commodity & Derivatives Exchange ltd, Multi Commodity Exchange of India ltd, National Multi Commodity Exchange of India ltd and Bikaner Commodity Exchange Ltd.

 
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