In a major boost to fruits exports prospects, Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), which works under the aegis of Ministry of Commerce and Industry, has facilitated the export of the first trial shipment of fresh pomegranate to the USA through air route. The first export consignment of pomegranate to USA was initiated by APEDA in collaboration with National Plant Protection Organization (NPPO) of India, the US’s Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (US-APHIS), Maharashtra State Agricultural Marketing Board (MSAMB), ICAR-National Research Centre on Pomegranate, Solapur (NRC-Solapur) and others.
Chairman, APEDA, Shri Abhishek Dev said that the increase in pomegranate exports to the USA would result in higher price realisation and 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 is amongst 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 amongst Indian exporters and US importers by ensuring that quality fruits are exported.
Buoyed over the acceptance of Indian mangoes in US markets, exporters are hopeful that pomegranate would also become a successful product in the USA. 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.
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 percent of the pomegranate export from the country.
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 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 ten 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.