Increase in pomegranate exports to USA would result in an increase in farmers' income
The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) is attempting to boost fruits exports prospects by facilitating the export of the first trial shipment of fresh pomegranate to the USA through the air route.

This first export consignment was done by APEDA in collaboration with National Plant Protection Organisation (NPPO) of India, the US’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (US-APHIS), Maharashtra State Agricultural Marketing Board (MSAMB), ICAR-National Research Centre on Pomegranate, Solapur (NRC-Solapur) and others, according to information released by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, under which APEDA works.

The consignment was of ‘Bhagwa’ pomegranate from Solapur which has high antioxidant content and super fruit characteristics. For this reason, it has a substantial export potential, and has substantial demand in the overseas markets. The Solapur district in Maharashtra contributes almost half of the pomegranate export from the country.

APEDA Chairman Abhishek Dev maintained that the increase in pomegranate exports to the USA would result in higher price realisation and increase in farmers’ income. At the same time, buoyed over the acceptance of Indian mangoes in US markets, exporters are hopeful that pomegranate would also become a successful product in the USA.

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

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

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 USA and Australia.

In 2022-23, 62,280 metric tonne of pomegranate worth USD 58.36 million was exported to the 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 recorded a total 333.20 million metric tonne (MMT) production of horticulture crops out of which the share of fruits and vegetables is 90%. The total production of fruits during 2021-22 was 107.10 MMT and pomegranate accounted for around 3 MMT.

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

APEDA has formed Export Promotion Forums (EPF) for Pomegranate to give an impetus to exports of pomegranate and remove bottlenecks of the supply chain. The EPF has representatives of the Department of Commerce, Department of Agriculture, state governments, national referral laboratories and top 10 leading exporters of the product.

In a continuous process, APEDA has taken several initiatives to address the concerns of the pomegranate value chain from pre-production, production, post-harvest, logistics, branding, to marketing activities.

Besides, establishing more than 250 export oriented European Union compliant pack houses in the private sector, financial assistance has also been provided to state governments under Common Infrastructure Development augment capacity infrastructures for exports. APEDA has chalked out strategies for country-specific export promotional programmes and organized International Buyer Seller Meets for EU countries, Middle East and South East Asian countries to tap export potential in new markets.

The rise in the export of agricultural and processed food products is the outcome of APEDA’s various initiatives taken for the export promotion of agricultural and processed food products such as organising B2B exhibitions in different countries, exploring new potential markets through product-specific and general marketing campaigns by the active involvement of Indian Embassies.

APEDA also organized a conference on the boosting export potential of natural, organic and GI-agro Products from the north-eastern states in Guwahati, Assam. The objective of the conference is to promote the export of natural, organic and GI agro-products grown in Assam and neighbouring states by creating international market linkages.

In collaboration with the Union Territory of Ladakh, APEDA recently organized an International Buyer Seller Meet, which aimed at boosting exports of Apricots and other agri-products from Ladakh. Eighteen entrepreneurs from UTs of Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir displayed a range of Apricots and other Agri Products. Twenty buyers from India, USA, Bangladesh, Oman and UAE participated in this event.