Guar Gum

Guar gum has been lately very popular in the commodity markets in India. Mr. Ganesh Prajapat from Jaipur-based ACI Agro Solutions responds to questions from members on guar gum cultivation in India

Eighty percent of the global  guar produced in India is cultivated in the rain-fed area of     Rajasthan. The rain fed area of Rajasthan is one of the most drought hit areas of India. This year the rate of guar has gone up and the farmers have made good profit.

Speaking about the usage of guar, Mr. Prajapat says, “The guar crop plays an important role in Western Rajasthan. It makes the soil fertile. Guar is a highly nutritive green manure in the world. It fixes nitrogen in the soil and increases the organic content. The guar pod is cooked as regular vegetable in the Western Rajasthan kitchens. Guar is used as dry fodder. The crops’ residual after the harvesting is collected and stored. It is used as fodder for the cattle. It is highly digestive and nutritive. It is a cash crop. The good thing with guar is that there is no storage pest attack on guar. The guar seed is used as concentrate for the milking cattle.”

Guar Gum
Guar gum, also called guaran, is a galactomannan. Guar gum is an extract of the guar bean, where it acts as a food and water store. The guar bean is principally grown in India and Pakistan, with smaller quantities grown in the U.S., Australia, China, and Africa. Guar gum comes from the endosperm of the seed. There are various grades of guar gums, pure or derivative. Guar gum is a white to creamy colored, free flowing powder, and free from extraneous matter. Its ability to suspend solids, bind water by hydrogen bonding, control the viscosity of aqueous solutions, form strong tough films have accounted for its rapid growth and use in various industries. It is used in paper, textile, oil drilling, mining, explosives, ore flotation, and other various industrial applications.

Mr. Prajapat says, “In the last few years, a lot of research was conducted on guar. The guar gum emerged as an industrial product. This has led to an increase in demand for gaur. The guar seed is the source of guar gum. The guar seed is processed in the guar gum. The demand of guar gum leads to the high price rise of guar seed. Last month the farmers enjoyed a rate of Rs. 35000/ quintal.”
Gaur Gum is used in petroleum industry, polymer industry, textile industry, plastic industry, food preservation industry, bakery, juices, noodles, ice cream, and printing industry. “I will suggest to Indian farmers to grow guar on at least 5% area of their agriculture farm. It is a green manure if you don’t get anything from guar. You can sell it in market as vegetable in green form, you can store as a cattle feed, and you can earn money if the current market trend continues. It has low water requirement, low pest susceptibility, short duration (90 days) crop, and can be grown on any land.”

Member Pacific Herbs further informs, “Guar gum is a product which is made from guar seeds. Guar gum is being used in different industries in India and abroad, but now it is in heavy demand due to its utility in crude oil industry. India is enjoying the top position in production and export of this product in the world market, as 80% of the global demand is met by India.”

“Guar is simple, short and easy rain fed (no irrigation) crop and cultivated in Rajasthan and Haryana, but it can be grown successfully in other states like Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu also. We have taken up trials of this crop in Vidharbha region of Maharashtra state in rain fed and irrigated conditions in summer. The variety include: RGC 197 – single stem, flat seed, 27 % gum, and RGC 936 – with branches, round and pink color seed, 33% gum.”

Guar Harvesting Period
A growing season of guar is 14 to 16 weeks and requires reasonably warm weather and moderate flashing rainfall with plenty of sunshine. Too much rain can cause the plant to become more ‘leafy’ resulting in reduction in the number of pods or the number of seeds per pod which affects the size and yield of seeds. The crop is generally sown after the monsoon rainfall in the second half of July to early August and is harvested in late October early November. The guar is a naturally rain fed crop. Depending on the monsoon rainfall, the total size of Guar crop varies from year to year. After harvesting, when the pods become dry through sunlight, they are beaten off and during this process, the seeds come out of the pods.

The seed is normally sown during the second half of July to August after the monsoon rainfall starts, and harvested during October and November. The crop requires 3-4 spells of rain during seed setting and maturing, which is during September first week and the end of September.

Features of Guar Crop
• Soil – Light or medium and well-drained soil.
• Climate – High temp, full sun light and low rainfall.
• Sowing – After 20 July to 10 Aug ( rain fed), in February (with irrigation)
• Crop duration- 90 to 100 days.
• Seed rate – 5 Kg. / acre.
• Cost of cultivation – Rs. 5 to 6 thousand/acre. (cost of seed Rs.2,500 – 3,000)
• Production/ yield – 400 to 600 kg /acre.
• Market rate – Rs. 100 to 300/Kg.(Present rate is Rs.21,000/quintal)
• Profit- minimum Rs. 35 to 90 thousand/acre in 90 days.

Pacific Herbs says, “We provide all concerned services like seed, crop agronomy and assured buy-back support at different places. We also take up large cultivation of 50 acres and above. It is risk free, 90 days duration, and requires low input cost agri project.”
“Guar gum, (guar cultivation) makes up to Rs.1,00,000/- from one acre of land in just 90 days by investing just Rs.6,000/-. It’s almost risk free, even if one get 2 quintals yield (average 4) and get the rate of Rs.5,000/- (will not be less than 10,000) per quintal and one can make Rs.4,000/-.

It’s a rain fed crop (No irrigation required in monsoon/kharip), you can even sow it in February if irrigation is available and double your profit in one year time. It’s a sturdy plant and easily comes up even on marginal land, requires less rain fall, and doesn’t require much attention as compared to other crops. Last year rates went up to Rs.32,000/quintal and at present its above 25,000. Rates in coming season will depend on the Monsoon in Rajasthan. If good rain comes the rate may go down to Rs.15,000 and if it fails the rate may bounce to record high, may be Rs.40,000/quintal.”

“The Department of Science and Technology has announced that Andhra Pradesh has more feasible environment for the production of Guar beans. It also explained the necessity of formation of Guar gum industries in Andhra Pradesh. Andhra Pradesh is importing about 200 tonnes of Guar gum from northern states every month. Out of this, mosquito coil industry alone consumes 50 tonnes of Guar gum. It is observed that the demand for Guar gum is growing steadily by about 8-10% for every year all over the world. The national demand is also growing at the same rate. Guar beans can give a steady production,” he adds.

Ideal Climatic Conditions
A member wants to know if guar can be grown in Maharashtra. He wants guidance regarding cultivation and fertilizers. Mr. Prajapat advises, “You can cultivate it in Maharashtra. The crop can be cultivated easily. Make sure that there no water logging condition. Infestation of weeds must be minimum. You can go with inter cropping, but would suggest you to grow it as a single crop. If you keep the row to row distance 45 cm (1.5 feet) then it will be more appropriate. Monsoon is the best time for seed germination. It requires temperature of less than 22 degree centigrade. At the time of harvesting the weather should be clear and cloud free.”

Member Aaditya has 3 acres of red soil in MP. He wants to know if he can cultivate guar in his land where the summer temperature reaches up to 55 degree centigrade and in winter up to 35 degree. Mr. Prajapat replies, “Guar is a three month crop so the climatic condition will not affect it. It grows well from 15 to 30 degree centigrade. You can cultivate it easily.”

Another member from Tamil Nadu says he has got the guar seeds and is going to cultivate 5 acres this season. “Since demand for this seed is high in USA, I am going to give it a try in my farm. Still I need to find where I can sell my guar seeds after harvest,” he asks. Mr. Prajapat advises him to sell it in the local market.

Labor Input
Member Rakshedg points out, “I have experience in cultivating this crop but one problem is harvesting is labor intensive and tedious which increases the cost of harvesting.” He wants suggestions on varieties of methods which are easier to harvest.

Mr. Prajapat says, “The harvesting is not so tough a job. You can use mechanical reaper. The labor can harvest easily. This is one of the easiest crops for harvesting. If you are cultivating the single crop then you can go-ahead with the normal cultivation practices.”

Land Preparation for Guar Crop Cultivation
Guar crop requires a well prepared field, with adequate soil moisture for its seed germination. During early growth period, soil aeration encourages root development and bacterial growth. “The field should be ploughed to fine tilth by giving two or three deep ploughing with soil-turning plough, followed by harrowing and planking. The field should be free from weeds and other crop residues. Arrangements for drainage channel-cum-water channel for heavy rain- fall areas or irrigated areas should be made while preparing the field. The farm yard manure should be mixed with soil at the time of last ploughing. You can cultivate guar in any type of the soil. Please avoid the water logging condition. It will also improve the soil. It is a leguminous crop so it will help nitrogen fixation in the soil,” says Mr. Prajapat.

Prerequisites of Guar Cultivation
When asked about the prerequisites of starting the guar cultivation, Mr. Prajapat says, “Guar is the crop of the rain fed location. It does not mean that it will not require any care. It will give very good result in irrigated conditions.

One can start guar cultivation in low irrigation or rain fed conditions. It is a normal crop which can be cultivated easily. Every stage and part of the plant is equally important. With a minimum guidance a normal farmer can grow it. After the sowing it needs proper weeding.”

Time of Sowing
Summer crop of guar in Northern India is sown in March, while kharif crop in June. For grain crop, the best time of sowing is during July. Early sowing results in more vegetative growth, lodging and loss of yield. “The best sowing time for fodder crop is April. In Peninsular India, guar is sown in September. In South India, it is sown at any time between February to October,” says Mr. Prajapat.

He adds, “Guar sowing time is adjusted to May-June to increase supply of vegetable pods. Crop sown in June in Haryana and in July in Punjab gives better production of vegetable pods. One can go for the guar crop as green manure purpose. More than 2 month old crop is ploughed back in the soil. The germination doesn’t take place properly in low temperature.”

Spacing in Guar Crop
A spacing of 45 cm between rows and 15 cm, between plants is given for crops grown for grain production. “However, spacing is generally reduced under late sowing and poor soil fertility conditions. Closer spacing of 30 X 12 cm is provided for fodder crop. A wider spacing of 60 X 30 cm is desirable for crops grown for green vegetable pod production. In some areas Guar crop is taken as inter cropping. In that condition we can use the single row of Guar crop between two or three row of another crop,” says Mr. Prajapat.

Seed Treatment for Guar
Mr. Prajapat says, “Normally guar is cultivated in the rain fed area of western Rajasthan, South Punjab and west Haryana. But in the humid areas, where there are more chances of disease outbreak, seeds are treated in the following ways:

• Dry seed is coated with ceresan or thiram at the rate of 3 gm fungicide per kilogram of seed to kill the spores of fungus resting on the seed coat.

• Seed is immersed in hot water at 56 C for 10 minutes and then dried at room temperature before sowing. This kills all the fungus mycelium and inactivates their spores to spread disease in the crop. This treatment must be done under the supervision of expert.

• To remove the diseased and unhealthy plants, they are put in the salty water. On doing this the light, small and diseased seed will come on the surface. After that the seeds are washed and dried under shadow.

The guar seeds are also treated with bacterial culture. “Guar plant develops nodules on its roots, in which a special kind of bacteria lives and converts the free nitrogen of the atmosphere into a form of fertilizer which is absorbed by the roots of the plant. This symbiotic relation of the bacteria and root nodules is useful in saving cost of nitrogenous fertilizers. Therefore, before sowing, the seeds are inoculated with these bacteria so that their population increases in the soil, with the growth of the plant. This is done by preparing a 10% sugar or gur solution in boiling water. This sugar solution is allowed to cool. On cooling 3 -4 packets of guar bacterial culture are mixed with solution to make a thin paste. This paste is coated over to the seed. Seed is dried under shade for 30 -40 minutes before sowing.”

Nutrient Management for Guar Crop
Guar can be cultivated in any type of the cultivated land. “It will give return even in poor nutrient soil/ low fertile soil. Guar crop needs 10-12 tonnes of well decomposed farmyard manure, especially when it is being cultivated on poor sandy soils, or after taking an exhausting crop. This well decomposed manure is applied a month before sowing,” says Mr. Prajapat.

He adds, “If someone wants to go for the commercial cultivation of guar and wants to take the good production, in that condition he can do the nutrient management by application of the fertilizers. Nitrogenous fertilizers are applied only in small quantity (about 20 kg of nitrogen) because most of the nitrogen to the crop comes from the atmosphere through bacterial action. Phosphatic fertilizers about 60 kg, potassic 20 kg per hectare along with 20 kg of nitrogen are applied as basal dose as the time of sowing, with the help of pora just 4 -5 cm below the seed. Spray the crop with 0.15% solution of sodium molybdate after 30 days of sowing after the seedling emergence increases the yield of both fodder and grain.”

Method of Sowing
Traditionally guar crop is sown by the     broadcast method. “Normally it is called “chhidaka.” If you want to go for broadcast method, then there must be sufficient soil moisture during the beginning of the rainy season. The field is roughly divided into long stripes of convenient size. The seed is evenly spread by hands over the surface of the field, while walking through the long stripes of the field. The field is ploughed after spreading the seed. This method does not ensure proper spacing and creates problems while hoeing, weeding and removing excessive rain water. The grower will also face problems in the intercultural operations,” says Mr. Prajapat.

“Line sowing with the help of tractors by seed-drill is useful in sowing. We can maintain the proper spacing and depth. This results in better seed germination. Line sowing is also useful for carrying out hoeing-weeding and removing excessive rain water.

“In some areas Guar is taken as mixed cropping the seeds are mixed with other crop. Normally in the Western Rajasthan it is taken with Bajara and Jowar. The seed of pulses like Mung( green gram), chickpea is also mixed. It can be also used as inter-cropping with clear separate row between other crop rows,” he adds.

Crop Rotations for Guar Crop
Some common crop rotations which are used in India with guar are:
• Rice -cotton -guar -bajra
• Guar -rice -sorghum
• Sorghum -guar -cotton
• Cotton -guar -rice -sorghum

Guar crop is taken for different purpose like fodder purpose, grain purpose, green manure purpose. As per the use it is taken as intercrop with different crops. The guar for forage is generally grown mixed with jowar or bajra. “This makes a well-balanced, nutritious and palatable feed for cattle. Intercropping guar with other kharif season crops like cotton, sorghum, maize, etc serve dual purpose. It provides additional and timely returns and improves the soil fertility for the partner crop. Guar crop can also be taken as intercrop in sugarcane crop but be aware the ware logging condition may harm the guar crop,” says Mr. Prajapat.

Weed Management
Guar field in kharif season is always full with a number of weed. “Hoeing and weeding in the initial stages of plant growth with the help of khurpi, tined harrow reduces the weed-crop competition and increases soil aeration for bacterial growth. The application of basalin at the rate of 1.0 kg a.i. per hectare as pre-planting dose suppresses the growth of grasses and other weeds. The manual practices must be preferred over the chemical practices,” informs Mr. Prajapat.

Disease Management in Guar Crop
Guar is tolerant to many diseases and pests. The common diseases of guar are wilt, bacterial blight, powdery mildew, and anthracnose. “Wilt is soil- borne and, therefore, its damage is of localized nature. It causes infection to the base of plants including roots and seedlings. The roots show dis-coloration and plant wilts. Poor emergence of seedlings is the first symptom of the disease. The seedlings rot before or soon after emergence. It can be controlled by:
1. Mixed cropping of guar with sorghum reduces the damage up to 55 per cent.
2. Addition of organic manures also reduces the disease incidence.
3. Seed treatment with Agrosan GN or Thiram or Captan at the rate 3 g/kg seed prevents the disease spread during germination and seedling emergence.”

Indian Guar Market
• India has been a major player in the context of guar and guar gum in the global market.

• 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.

• 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 comprises of 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 5000 crores.

• 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 constitutes 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 led to the introduction of this crop in many countries.

Member Karsan asks to know where he can sell guar gum crop, which he has grown on 5 acres land. He says, “Crop will be ready by November. where do I have to sell produce, in market yard or to factory processing guar gum seeds?”

Mr. Prajapat adds, “We provide buyback support. You can also find the buyer over internet. Initially there is a small production so no one knows the buyers.”

Market for Guar
Speaking about finding buyers for guar, Mr. Prajapat says, “The first concern is finding the buyer. Buyer for the guar crop is not a problem. The crop is farmer friendly crop and you need not to sell out in the open market if you don’t have sufficient quantity to sell out (truck load). Just grind it and give the feed to cattle after cooking in water.

This is highly nutritive concentrate. Five to six farmers can make a group with the sufficient quantity to sell out. If the commodity comes to the grain market the buyer will start to buy this from the farmer. It might take some time to develop.”

He adds, “This is not a product which is used in one industry. It is used in more than 10 different industries: food processing, food preservation, printing, radioactive, petroleum, and paper industry. Yes, for a beginner it will require some extra effort. But the crop will give returns. The basic fact is that cost of cultivation is very low, so the rate of returns is very high.”

Investments and Returns
Member Vipvisu wants to know if guar can be grown in Rayala Seema Andhra Pradesh, which too is a drought prone area. He says, “I have lot of land which I’m not using for cultivation. Where can I get seeds and what would be the per acre expenditure and returns after 3 months?”

Mr. Prajapat says, “Guar can be cultivated in the rain-fed conditions. It requires very less water as if you give three irrigation you can cultivate the guar easily. If the current rate continues you can earn up to Rs. 1,00,000/acre after three months. If the rate goes up just like last month you can earn up to Rs. 3,00,000/ acre. It needs very less investment, just Rs.5000/ acre. You have to put the seed in the farm, let it grow and you have to do just two three irrigation. You can get very good profit.”

He adds, “Seed rate of guar crop varies from 20 kg to 40 kg per hectare depending upon soil moisture and spacing. About 20 kg seed per hectare is sufficient for grain crop. Seed rate for crops grown for fodder or green manuring is about 40 kg per hectare. Seed rate is normally increased under late sown condition, dry condition, and soil salinity or alkalinity conditions. In tough condition the seed rate can be increased, so that at the time of weeding we can remove the diseased or unhealthy or abnormal plant.”

History of Guar Gum
Guar is a native to the Indian subcontinent. Guar is grown mainly in India, Pakistan, United States and also in some parts of Africa and Australia. Mr. Prajapat says, “In old times, guar was only used as rich protein to feed cattle. It is also used as green vegetable in India.
After Second World War there was major shortage of locust bean gum which adversely affected the textile and paper industries. At that time guar gum was found as the most suitable substitute for scarce locust bean gum.

In 1953 the extraction technology of guar gum was commercialized in USA and India after decade of period.

The guar plant is an annual plant known as ‘Cyamopsis Tetragonaloba’. The important source of nutrition to human and animals is the legume as it regenerates soil nitrogen and the endosperm of guar seed is an important hydrocolloid widely used across a broad spectrum of industries.

The guar plant flourishes in extremely drought resistant and semi-arid regions where most plants perish. It grows best in sandy soils.

The ideal areas for farming are West, Northwest India and parts of Pakistan. The major processing centers of guar gum are in the North Western states in India. The guar plant grows from 2 feet to 9 feet high. The plant’s flower buds start out white and change to a light pink as the flower opens. The flowers turn deep purple and are followed by fleshy seed pods which ripen and are harvested in summer.

The seed pods grow in clusters giving guar the common name cluster-bean. A gum extracted from the guar beans forms a gel in water, commonly referred to as guar gum. When limited moisture is available, the plant will stop growing but will not die.
Guar gum is also known as guarkernmehl, guaran, goma guar, gomme guar and galactomannan.”

ACI Agro Solution
ACI Agro Solution was established in 2010. It is based in Jaipur, Rajasthan. The company provides consultancy for medicinal crops, aromatic crops, field crops, and commercial crops. ACI also provides consultancy for green house cultivation, poly house cultivation and hydroponic cultivation. “We organize the field exposure tour of different crops and agriculture activities. We have assisted the growers in establishment of mushroom farm and dairy farm,” avers Mr. Ganesh Prajapat, executive director, ACI Agro Solution.
He adds, “We assist farmers to identify profitable crop cycle, crop rotation and better management of their available field resources. We provide consultancy for land selection, land development, layout and infrastructure development for commercial cultivation. We provide buyback support. We also provide consultancy for post-harvest management and processing of the agriculture produce.” The company is into export-import of agriculture commodities, too.
Sharing their success story with guar gum crop, Mr. Prajapat says, “We are native to the region where guar crop is grown as a regular field crop. It has improved the economic condition of farmers. One quintal of guar is now costlier than 10 gm of gold. The farmers have got huge revenue from the crop. In our area guar is grown on thousands of acres of land in many forms – single crop, inter cropping, fodder crop, and green manure crop. Most of the guar gum factories are located in our area.”
He adds, “We are organizing the guar field crop exposure crop based on the demand from new growers. This will include guar field tour, interaction with existing farmers, and visit of guar gum factory. We have distributed 10 quintal guar seeds to the farmers of different states of India.”
Mr. Prajapat is B.Sc (Ag.) Hons, and MBA (International Business). “I have work experience in risk management in agriculture sector, Rural development at grass root level with tribal people, organic cultivation, organic certification, cultivation of medicinal and aromatic plants, and high-tech agriculture,” he maintains.
For more information, contact : Ganesh Prajapat, Tel : +91-9509888669, 7597920642, +91-141-2339608 Email :

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Source : Agriculture & Industry Survey  [/hidepost]