High temperatures during the summer could take toll on the size of pomegranates this season. This Ambe Bahar season, the fruit size is likely to get smaller, a top official of the Maharashtra Pomegranate Growers Research Association (MPGRA) said. This is the shorter season that lasts for a couple of months and since the summer temperatures were high and there was shortage of water, it could impact fruit sizes, Prabhakar Chandane, president, MPGRA, said. The crop size could also get impacted to the tune of 30-40% and the total production could come up to some 5 lakh tonne, he said.
While the export quantum may not be much, pomegranates will be exported largely to West Asia and Sri Lankan markets to the tune of some 15,000 tonne, Chandane said. Exports to Europe would be barely 5,000 tonne this season, he said.
The country’s first shipment of pomegranates was sent to the US in May. Around 1.3 tonne of pomegranates reached Miami, Florida on May 1 through the efforts of the Maharashtra State Agriculture Marketing Board (MSAMB) and the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority.
Maharashtra usually exports around 17,000 tonne of pomegranates of the total of 20,000 tonne that are exported from the country. The opening of the US market will lead to the other major foreign markets, officials of MSAMB had said.
The US market is tough since pomegranates have to undergo an irradiation process which is mandatory for all fruits. However, according to Chandane, the response has been lukewarm and it took over a month to sell the fruit.