The new high oleic peanut varieties offer a real potential for smallholder groundnut farmers to supply new markets, like the confectionary industry.
Photo: © ICRISAT

23.02.2018

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Indian smallholder farmers could soon benefit from the growing confectionary peanut market, as the first-ever high oleic groundnut varieties adapted to India are ready for release.

To respond to the growing demands for high oleic peanuts, groundnut scientists from the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and partners across India have developed the first-ever oleic-rich peanuts in Spanish and Virginia bunch types, adapted to Indian farm conditions.

Until now, Indian groundnut farmers have not benefited from the rapidly growing global confectionary market, as they have been unable to supply high oleic content peanuts as required by the confectionary industry. High oleic peanuts have tenfold lower oxidation compared to normal peanuts, giving them a shelf-life of two to nine months. This avoids rancidity, and high oleic peanuts also have much better flavour. Oleic acid or omega-9 fatty acid, which can be found in olives and nuts like almonds, also have important health benefits.
“Six years ago, we foresaw this new market demand for high oleic content and we wanted to incorporate this market trait into popular local varieties grown by Indian farmers, by crossing with an American runner type variety rich in oleic acid (Sunoleic 95R),” explains groundnut breeder Dr Janila, who has led this demand-driven breeding programme since 2011.

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