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ICAR-National Research Centre on Pomegranate, Solapur, initiated the first sea shipment of 12.6 tonnes of irradiated pomegranate fruits from India to the USA in collaboration with Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority, New Delhi, National Plant Protection Organization, New Delhi, Maharashtra State Agriculture Marketing Board, Government of Maharashtra, and INI Farms Pvt. Ltd today from Vashi, Navi Mumbai.

Shri. Rajesh Agarwal, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Commerce and Industries, Govt. of India, acknowledged the cooperation and coordination of the various stakeholders involved in this endeavor. He said that varied agro climatic conditions in India provide a unique opportunity for improving the export of various commodities from India.

Dr. R. A. Marathe, Director, ICAR-NRC on Pomegranate, Solapur, underlined the potential of pomegranate in the export basket of Indian fruits and vegetables owing to its health benefits and nutraceutical value.

Sh. Abhishek Dev, Chairman, APEDA, said that Indian pomegranate export has been growing steadily at the rate of 20% year on year. This will be the milestone in the Indian pomegranate export he added.

The pomegranate fruit export from India to the USA was halted in 2018 due to a ban. The USDA-APHIS has now prescribed a new operational work plan, including surfactant wash, surface disinfection, irradiation, and packaging. The first trial air shipment was shipped to New York in July 2023. However, the high costs of air freight make it difficult for Indian exporters to compete in US markets. Adopting the sea route is challenging due to the 20000 km voyage distance and 35-day travel time. Successful static storage trials at ICAR-NRCP in Solapur have paved the way for sea shipment, opening opportunities to export to premium US markets while remaining competitive.

(Source: ICAR-National Research Centre on Pomegranate, Solapur)

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