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Description | Overview | Cultivation pattern | Urad producing countries | Indian urad market | Major trading centers

Urad or black gram is small sized pulse having black seed coat that is used in the preparation of fermented foods mainly in the south Indian recipes and other regional foods. Black gram comes from the family of Leguminoseae and belongs to the sub family of Papilionaceae. It is a good source of phosphoric acid, proteins, carbohydrates and calcium. Urad is creamy white in color beneath its black seed coat and is more or less same as the green gram or mung bean in nature.

Urad is consumed in many including split form, boiled form, roasted form or ground to make flour. It is also consumed in a stew form, which is known as ‘Dal’ in India and other south Asian countries.


Urad or black gram is a highly prized pulse crop in many countries. It is a crop that is grown in warm climatic conditions on an opportunity crop basis. This dull grey-black colored crop constitutes an important part of the recipes and cuisines of many countries in South and Southeast Asia. It contains a wide variety of nutrients and is popular for its fermenting action and thus it is largely used in making fermented foods. In some countries it is called Black Matpe.

The production of urad is mostly confined to the Asian countries as their tropical climates and soil type suit the pulse’s cultivation. The largest producer of this pulse is India followed by Myanmar and Thailand. But being the largest producer of urad does not take India to a comfortable situation, as it is also the largest consumer of the black gram in the world and its total production is not able to fulfill its domestic consumption demand. The incapability of Indian production to satisfy its domestic demand makes it the largest importer of this pulse as well. The major consuming cum importing countries of black gram or urad are

  • India

  • China

  • Pakistan

  • Japan

  • Thailand

These importers of this pulse get their gap in demand and supply filled up by getting supplies from the following exporting countries

  • Myanmar

  • Thailand

  • Singapore

  • Australia

Urad is the largest exported pulse crop among the total beans and pulses. The total exports of urad in the world figures around 62.5 million tons contributing to a 40% share in the total quantity of the beans and pulses.

Cultivation pattern

Urad is crop that can be cultivated in both hot and cold weathers but the method of cultivation differs in the two climates. In warm climates, the yield of this crop is largely dependent on rainfall level and in cooler climates; it depends on the moisture level in the soil. This crop is generally cultivated as a secondary crop in rotation with wheat, rice etc as it increases the nitrogen level in the soil. Also, it has relatively short crop duration of 80- 120 days.

In India, it is generally cultivated in summer times as a khariff crop. The seeds are sown in the months of February and the crop is harvested in the months of July and August. It is also sown in the months of June July or October according to the areas in which it is cultivated.

Urad producing countries
  • India
  • Myanmar
  • Thailand
  • Singapore
  • Japan
  • Bangladesh
  • Canada
  • Iran
  • Greece
  • East African countries

The production of this crop has been confined to Asian countries as the climatic conditions and the soil types in these countries suit the conditions required by this crop to support its survival. India is the leading producer of Urad in the world with the production of around 1.5 million tons and is the leading consumer also. Myanmar and Thailand follow the Indian lead in the list of urad producing countries, though Myanmar produce black gram mainly to export this pulse and it even exports it to the leading producer of this crop.

Production of urad in India

India is the largest producer of black gram in the world. The annual production of urad in India is around 1.5 million tons contributing around 10% of the total quantity of pulses produced in India. The major states that produce black gram or urad in India are

  • Madhya Pradesh

  • Uttar Pradesh

  • Punjab

  • Maharashtra

  • West Bengal

  • Andhra Pradesh

  • Orissa

  • Tamil Nadu

  • Karnataka

The area under the cultivation of urad in the country is about 2.5 million hectares. Madhya Pradesh is the leading producer of black gram in India. Two varieties of urad are produced in the country – Desi and T9. Most of these urad producing areas in India produce Desi urad. Also there is a significant price difference between these two types of the pulse, Desi being more expensive than T9.

Indian urad market

Pulses dominantly constitute the staple diet of the people in India. India has always been the largest producer, consumer and importer of pulses. The same trends follows in the context of Urad or the black gram. Urad has been consumed widely in India since very long. It is one of the most important and highly prized pulses in India. Due to the fermenting capability of this pulse, it is used widely in fermented foods that are the specialty of South Indian cuisine.

The production of urad in India hovers around 1.3 to 1.5 million tons annually. It is approximately 10% of the total pulses produced in India. Madhya Pradesh leads the production figures of this crop in India. Urad’s consumption pattern is quite dispersed as it is used in most of the regions in India. Though the per capita consumption of urad has declined over the years, consumption level of this crop is too high to be fulfilled by the country’s domestic production. That is why it has to rely upon imports from other countries. The countries that export urad to India are

  • Myanmar

  • Thailand

  • Singapore

  • Australia

Around 90% of the imports are contributed by the imports from Myanmar and the rest of the countries fill up the remaining gap in the country’s demand & supply. India imports around 35000 tons of black gram and the trend in these imports has been increasing constantly.

Market Influencing Factors

  • Weather conditions in the country

  • Hoarding and Black-marketing

  • Crop situation in other countries especially Myanmar

  • Prices of the other competitive pulses

Major trading centers of Urad

In India, urad or black gram is traded at the following trading centers

  • Mumbai (Maharashtra)

  • Jalgaon (Maharashtra)

  • Latur (Maharashtra)

  • Akola (Maharashtra)

  • Nanded (Maharashtra)

  • Dhulia (Maharashtra)

  • Indore (Madhya Pradesh)

  • Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh)

  • Vidisha (Madhya Pradesh)

  • Sagar (Madhya Pradesh)

  • Jhansi (Madhya Pradesh)

  • Delhi

  • Chennai

  • Kanpur (Utar Pradesh)

  • Hapur (Uttar Pradesh)

  • Hatras (Uttar Pradesh)

  • Ganjdhundwada (Uttar Pradesh)

  • Aligarh (Uttar Pradesh)

  • Hydrabad (Andhra Pradesh)

  • Vijaywada (Andhra Pradesh)

  • Gulbarga (Karnataka)

  • Sirsa (Haryana)

  • Jalandhar (Punjab)

  • Ludhiana (Punjab)

  • Sangrur (Punjab)

  • Madosa (Gujarat)

  • Himmatnagar (Gujarat)

  • Talod (Gujarat)

  • Rajkot (Gujarat)

  • Junagarh (Gujarat)

Urad is also traded at the various commodity exchanges in India namely National Commodity & Derivatives Exchange ltd, Multi Commodity Exchange of India ltd and National Multi Commodity Exchange of India ltd.

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