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Groundnut, Arachis hypogaea / Leguminosae
Most probably, the origin of the groundnut was Brazil. At present, its production is important in the southern European countries and in some Asian countries.

The peanut produced in Spain is of great commercial value and it is cultivated in the Mediterranean areas.

For a long time there have been different theories on the origin of groundnuts, but finally it has been accepted that it comes from the tropical part of South America, probably from Brazil, from where it arrived at Guinea in the XVIth century by means of the first slave dealers and the Portuguese navigators at the Asian islands. In Spain the archbishop of Valencia, Fabian de Tuero, introduced the groundnut culture, in the period of Carlos III. Later on, the Spaniards took it to Indonesia and cultivation was introduced in China and India. These Asian countries produce at the moment around two thirds of the world harvest, and it is also an important oil source in tropical America, occupying the second place in respect with oil palm in Africa.

Groundnut production is important in several countries of southern Europe, mainly in France, Italy and Portugal.

In Spain, groundnuts of great commercial value are produced in the Mediterranean areas, as Valencia, Malaga and Huelva.

In the world 34,000,000 thousand tons are produced. The distribution of the production by continents is as follows:


Continent
Thousand tons
Africa8,195,578
Asia23,670,925
Europe12,411
North America1,738,864
Oceania41,730
South America862,569
Total34,522,107

Source: The FAO Production (2000)

The main producing country is China and the groundnut production is important also in several countries in the south of Europe.


Country
Thousand tons
China15,067,155
India6,100,000
Nigeria2,783,000
U.S.A.1,491,000
Sudan980,000
Senegal828,324
Bulgaria10,000
Greece2,000
Spain136
Portugal25

Source: The FAO Production (2000)

The main import countries of shell groundnuts are:


Country
Thousand tons
Italy16,959
Germany16,605
The Netherlands12,346
Spain11,935
Malaysia10,209
Indonesia8,569
Yemen8,332
Canada7,987
México3,699
U.S.A.2,079

Source: The FAO Trade (2000)

The main exporting countries are China and the U.S.A.. The amount of shell groundnuts exported in these and other countries are the following:


Country
Thousand tons
China55,786
The U.S.A.22,743
Paraguay14,158
India11,000
Israel8,314
Indonesia3,243
Belgium-Luxembourg2,619
Thailand2,248
Mexico2,223
The Netherlands1,506

Source: The FAO Trade (2000).
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