Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), an organization operating under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, has successfully orchestrated the export of the inaugural trial shipment of fresh pomegranates to the United States via air route.
This collaborative effort, spearheaded by APEDA, featured partnerships with the National Plant Protection Organization (NPPO) of India, the US’s Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (US-APHIS), the Maharashtra State Agricultural Marketing Board (MSAMB), ICAR-National Research Centre on Pomegranate, Solapur (NRC-Solapur), and other stakeholders.
Abhishek Dev, Chairman of APEDA, expressed optimism that this initiative would not only bolster pomegranate exports to the USA but also lead to enhanced price realization and augmented income for farmers. Importers of the pomegranate shipment have reportedly responded positively to the endeavor.
The trial export of pomegranates was executed by ‘INI Farms,’ a prominent Indian fruit and vegetable exporter registered under APEDA. As part of the Agrostar group, ‘INI Farms’ collaborates directly with farmers, offering comprehensive services encompassing agronomy, agri-inputs, and off-take. Their produce is dispatched to over 35 countries worldwide. T
his trial shipment is aimed at cultivating the capabilities of Indian exporters and US importers by ensuring the export of premium-quality fruits, particularly due to the challenges posed by long-distance markets and high costs.
Capitalizing on the success of Indian mangoes in US markets, exporters are optimistic about replicating this achievement with pomegranates. To ensure transparency and traceability in the pomegranate export value chain, APEDA conducts regular sensitization programs in partnership with state governments.
These programs aid in registering farms under AnarNet, a system developed by APEDA. The organization has played a pivotal role in securing market access, thereby enabling the export of high-quality Indian pomegranates to the USA and Australia.
Renowned for its elevated antioxidant content and superfruit attributes, the ‘Bhagwa’ variety of pomegranate from Maharashtra holds substantial export potential. This variety is in high demand in international markets. Notably, the Solapur district in Maharashtra contributes nearly 50% of the nation’s pomegranate exports.
In the fiscal year 2022-23, India exported 62,280 metric tonnes of pomegranates valued at USD 58.36 million to various countries including the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bangladesh, Nepal, Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bahrain, and Oman. India stands as the world’s second-largest producer of horticulture crops, with fruits and vegetables accounting for 90% of the production in the 2021-22 period. The same period witnessed a total fruit production of 107.10 million metric tonnes, with pomegranates contributing around 3 million metric tonnes.
Globally, India ranks seventh in pomegranate production, cultivating this fruit across approximately 275,500 hectares. Key pomegranate-producing states in India include Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Rajasthan, and Andhra Pradesh. To accelerate pomegranate exports and streamline supply chains, APEDA has established Export Promotion Forums (EPF) for Pomegranates, comprising representatives from the Department of Commerce, Department of Agriculture, state governments, national referral laboratories, and leading exporters in the sector.
APEDA’s concerted efforts span the entire pomegranate value chain, addressing aspects such as pre-production, production, post-harvest procedures, logistics, branding, and marketing activities. Over 250 export-oriented European Union-compliant pack houses have been established in the private sector, while financial support has been extended to state governments for augmenting export-focused infrastructure. Furthermore, APEDA has devised targeted strategies for export promotion in specific countries, organizing International Buyer Seller Meets to tap into new markets.
The surge in agricultural and processed food product exports can be attributed to APEDA’s multifaceted approach, including organizing international exhibitions, exploring untapped markets through targeted campaigns, and leveraging Indian Embassies’ active involvement. Notably, APEDA has also promoted export potential conferences, as demonstrated by the event in Guwahati, Assam, focusing on enhancing the export prospects of natural, organic, and GI-agro products from the northeastern states.
In a collaborative endeavor with the Union Territory of Ladakh, APEDA recently organized an International Buyer Seller Meet aimed at elevating the exports of apricots and other agricultural products from Ladakh. The event featured participation from entrepreneurs in Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir, showcasing a range of apricots and agri-products to international buyers from countries including India, the USA, Bangladesh, Oman, and the UAE.