Bengal Gram / Chana/ chickpea Cultivation and Farming in India

Did you know that India produces more than 65% of the Chickpea consumed worldwide? This makes India the leader in chickpea production. in 2020 India produced 11080 thousand metric tonnes of chickpeas and the nearest competitor is turkey which produced 630 thousand metric tonnes of chickpeas during that period. The gap in chickpea production is huge which makes India the leader in the production of chickpeas. reference: https://www.statista.com/statistics/722203/chickpeas-production-volume-by-country-worldwide/

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Chickpea is referred to as chana, Kabuli chana, Bengal gram, gram brown gram or white gram. in India, it’s mostly referred to as chana. When referring to specific types it’s either referred to as Kabuli chana for the white variety or desi chana for the brown variety. The process of cultivation of chana is not as tedious as many other crops but the right time and climatic conditions play a major role in chana cultivation. Success and failure depend on when you cultivate chana.

Chana, its use in Indian and worldwide cuisine and its market

Chana is consumed widely. In India, it’s consumed as a pulse, in ground form as besan, and as a whole dried and fresh chana. Fresh chana is a very seasonal product and its available rarely in the market during the peak season. most people would have consumed fresh chana or chole in restaurants or at home. in ground form, everyone would have had bhajia at some point in their life and for some who are in the northern part of India, besan ka laddoo is not new. Besan is consumed for its taste but more importantly, it’s consumed by vegetarians as a means to gain more protein. Chana has 21% protein. Every 100 Grams you consume gives you 21 grams of protein in your diet. It’s healthy because it has low fat at 4% and good carb at 60%.

talking about the international market, chana is consumed widely in Greece, Italy and turkey. Hummus, a common food in these areas mainly constitute of chickpeas. Every country has their version of chickpea food. For instance, Argentina has faina, Bhajans in Mauritius, Socca in Italy and so on. unlike some pulses like soy, the chickpea is liked by many people all around the world as it has a good flavour even when just boiled with salt!

Farming practices and packages in India

Chickpeas, may it be black or Kabuli chickpea has the same farming practices with very small changes. The seed quantity will vary and the distance between plants will vary. Apart from these small differences, everything else will be just about the same. The right variety of seeds is more important and we will discuss the same in the seed selection section.

Before you begin chickpea cultivation it’s important to understand chickpea as a plant. The plant originated in southwestern Asia, but some speculate it to be in Europe. they are winter crops or Rabi crops. They are leguminous plants with tap roots. being a leguminous plant, the chickpea requires very less nitrogen input into the farm. In general, too, chickpea requires very less nutritional input. they are long-day plants and do not tolerate frost, especially during the flowering stage. the seed to harvest time varies from 145 days to 165 days. the plants are self-pollinated. they have tap roots and require slight nitrogen nutrients to grow for the first 30 days or till the secondary and tertiary roots develop
Season & Climate for Cultivation: the best temperature to grow chickpeas is from 20 degrees to 25 degrees Celcius. chickpea is a winter crop but does not tolerate frost. temperature below 5 degrees will result in wilting. if the temperature is low during the flowering season the entire crop may perish and the farmer will have no control over it. October is the best time to sow chickpeas. farmers in Madhya Pradesh should sow chickpeas between the first and twentieth of October for best results. this time is best suited for reduced pests and diseases. Chickpea is a rabi crop.