First trial shipment of fresh pomegranate exported to US: Commerce ministry

New Delhi: The commerce ministry on Tuesday said the first trial shipment of fresh pomegranate has been exported to the US through the air route.

It was facilitated by the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA).

APEDA Chairman Abhishek Dev said the increase in pomegranate exports to the US would result in higher price realisation and an increase in farmers’ income.

There has been encouraging response from the importers of the pomegranate shipment.

The trial shipment of pomegranate was carried out by the APEDA registered ‘INI Farms’, which are among the top exporters of fruits and vegetables from India. It has built a value chain of banana and pomegranate by working directly with farmers. As a part of Agrostar group, complete services from agronomy, agri-inputs and off-take is provided to farmers with the produce exported to over 35 countries across the world.

‘’As the long-distance market and high cost was prohibitive in commencing commercial operations, the export of trial shipment of pomegranate would help in building capacities among Indian exporters and US importers by ensuring that quality fruits are exported,‘’ the ministry said.

Buoyed by the acceptance of Indian mangoes in the US, exporters are hopeful that pomegranate would also script a similar success story. For ensuring traceability in the export value chain of pomegranate, APEDA organizes sensitisation programmes on a regular basis in association with state governments to register farms under AnarNet – a system developed by APEDA.

APEDA has played a significant role in gaining market access by opening the pathway to allow high quality Indian pomegranates in the US and Australia.

Because of its high antioxidant content and super fruit characteristics, ‘Bhagwa’ pomegranate from Maharashtra has a substantial export potential. The ‘Bhagwa’ variety of pomegranate has substantial demand in the overseas markets. The Solapur district in Maharashtra contributes almost 50% of the pomegranate export from the country.

In 2022-23, an estimated 62,280 tonne of pomegranate worth $58.36 million was exported to countries including United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bangladesh, Nepal, Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bahrain, Oman. India is the second largest producer of horticulture crops.

In 2021-22, India produced 333.20 million metric tonne (MMT) of horticulture crops, of which the share of fruits and vegetables was 90%. The total production of fruits during 2021-22 was 107.10 MMT and pomegranate accounted for around 3 MMT.

India ranks seventh in production of pomegranates in the world and the total area under cultivation is around 2,75,500 hectare. In India, the major pomegranate producing states are Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh.