Bitter Gourd Prices Explained
Bitter gourd prices largely depend on its demand and production as more people become aware of its culinary diversity and health benefits.
Additionally, its production offers a profitable opportunity for small and marginal farmers because of its low input costs and versatility in varying climate conditions. Overall, bitter gourd is common in Asian cuisines and a major ingredient in the food and beverage, pharmaceutical, cosmetic, and nutraceutical industries.
Why are bitter gourd prices fluctuating?
1. Weather Conditions
The growth, yield, and quality of bitter gourd are severely affected by extreme weather conditions such as drought, flood, frost, hail, and typhoons. Additionally, they cause major disruptions in transportation and marketing.
Typhoons like Rolly, Ulysses, and Vicky devastated the Philippines in 2020 and severely damaged various agricultural products, including bitter gourd.
As a result, there was a shortage of domestic bitter gourds which caused the spiking of its prices in the country.
Generally, bitter gourds are warm-season crops that grow year-round in tropical and subtropical climates, growing at temperatures between 24 and 27 degrees Celsius.
The peak seasons for each variety and region are different. Additionally, the best months to buy bitter gourd in the Philippines are from March to June and from September to December.
On the other hand, it becomes less common in the off-season which drives up the bitter gourd prices.
3. Market Competition
When bitter gourd prices increase, consumers choose other substitutes, resulting in decreased demand and a decline in bitter gourd prices.
Conversely, during periods of lower bitter gourd prices, consumers are likely to choose bitter gourd more frequently, leading to increased demand and higher prices.
Overall, consumers have the option to select more budget-friendly alternatives that offer similar nutritional and culinary qualities, such as cucumber, okra, squash, and eggplant.
4. Trade and Market Policies
Regulations and market laws govern the trade in bitter gourds which includes both local and foreign operations and mostly focuses on Asia.
For instance, the European Union’s decision in 2022 to lift the ban on Tanzanian bitter gourds serves as a reminder of how trade agreements and barriers affect the profitability and competitiveness of bitter gourd exporters and producers.
Which variables impact the price of bitter gourd?
- Weather Conditions
- Market Competition
- Pests and Diseases
- Trade and Market Policies
- Seasonality Variations
- Government Policies
Where does bitter gourd come from?
Bitter gourd is also known as bitter melon, goya, bitter apple, bitter squash, and balsam pear. Additionally, this tropical vine is planted mostly for its edible fruit in Southeast Asia, China, and India.
There are several varieties of bitter gourds, including:
1. Chinese Bitter Gourd – This type has rough, crimped skin that resembles a pale green cucumber. Also, it is warty on the surface, has an oblong shape, and is pale green with narrowed ends.
2. Indian Bitter Gourd – This kind ranges in color from green to white and is distinguished by its sharp, angled ridges covering its surface and short, narrowing ends.
Many Filipinos prefer the Indian bitter gourd, also known as ampalaya, which has a more slender shape with pointed ends and a surface decorated with jagged, triangular ridges.
3. White Bitter Gourd – This type of bitter gourd is identified by its white or pale appearance and has a softer flavor than its green counterparts. It is commonly used in many Asian recipes.
4. African Bitter Gourd – Cultivated in several African locations, this type is easily recognized by the uneven lumps or warts that cover its surface. Moreover, it finds applications in African cuisines as well as traditional medicine.
5. Taiwanese Bitter Gourd – They are known for their mild flavor and soft texture which are the result of hybridization. Also, they are often used in Taiwanese cuisine.
6. Thai Bitter Gourd – Known for its smaller size, this variety is a common ingredient in Thai cuisine, frequently incorporated into soups, stir-fries, and curries.
What are the uses of bitter gourd?
Bitter gourd is greater than even tomatoes and cucumbers in having the highest vitamin C level when it comes to protein content. Furthermore, it also contains high levels of iron, zinc, phosphorus, magnesium, and calcium.
Although it’s best known as a culinary vegetable, it has industrial uses as well.
1. Medicinal Extract and Supplement – It’s used to make various herbal supplements and therapeutic extracts due to its widely recognized medical qualities.
2. Cosmetic Products – Its extracts are integrated into cosmetic products such as skincare and hair care formulas due to its antioxidant content
3. Pharmaceutical Industry – Bitter gourd extracts find application in the pharmaceutical industry for the development of drugs or pharmaceutical formulations.
4. Biodiesel Production – Some varieties of bitter gourd, particularly certain oilseed varieties are used for oil extraction. Additionally, bitter gourd seeds are used as a potential feedstock for biodiesel production.
What is the future price of bitter gourd?
The global bitter gourd market is expected to grow as more people become aware of its nutritional and medical benefits, especially in treating diabetes, obesity, and skin issues.
Due to its components, which are said to decrease blood sugar, prevent fat from accumulating, and strengthen the immune system, bitter gourd is becoming more and more popular.
Additionally, the ongoing development of bitter gourd products and applications such as spanning powders, juices, teas, capsules, and cosmetics, gives consumers preferences for convenience, variety, and added value, allowing them to enjoy the benefits of bitter gourd without enduring its characteristic bitterness.
Overall, the price of bitter gourd will range from $0.55 to $1.11 per kilogram in 2027 and is projected to reach $28,167 million by 2029, with a CAGR of 7.1%.