The oldest groundnut (or peanut) was found in Peru and dated to about 5600 BC. It was introduced to China only in the 17th century, but today China is its largest producer, followed by India, USA, Nigeria and Indonesia. Groundnut can grow under many different conditions, between 40° North and 40° South. It is the 5th most widely grown crop in sub-Saharan Africa behind maize, sorghum, millet and cassava. Nigeria produces 30% of Africa’s total, followed by Senegal and Sudan with each about 8%, and Ghana and Chad with about 5% each. They are grown nearly exclusively for domestic use, either for consumption or as cash crop for small farmers. Groundnuts are used as foodstuffs in many different forms. Processed into peanut butter they played a pivotal role in the exploration of the world extremes (South and North pole) since they are the only food which is high in protein and fat, stores well in cold conditions for long periods and eaten readily, even when on the move.

Reference to numbers/statistics are from FAOSTAT 2010 for the year 2008

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