First shipments in almost four years land successfully in the US under a newly developed systems approach

India has resumed pomegranate aril exports to the US after a gap of almost four years.

The US suspended access for Indian pomegranate arils in October 2018, but India regained entry in November 2022 following efforts by the country’s National Plant Protection Organisation (NPPO) and export promotion agency Apeda to reopen the market.

The first shipments reached US shores at the beginning of March under a newly developed systems approach encompassing product monitoring and quality control across the entire supply chain, including farms.

Leading Indian exporter INI Farms said it had successfully made airfreight shipments to both the East and West Coast, with fruit landing on 1 March 2023.

“This is a great development providing huge opportunity for Indian exports, while serving US consumers with year-round supply of pomegranates, which are considered a superfruit, in a convenient format,” said Purnima Khandelwal, chief executive of INI Farms.

The updated protocol includes field-level monitoring and addresses pest risks associated with Mediterranean fruit fly.

Khandelwal said the success of the programme is not only key for the US, but also for other important markets such as Australia, which has granted access to Indian pomegranate arils based on the same protocol.

“This is the first time a systems approach has been designed, developed and implemented in India and it can be a useful methodology to open up global markets while ensuring full control over pest and disease risks,” she said.