Consignment of 4,200 boxes (12.6 tonnes) of ‘Kimaye’ pomegranates is set to travel 20,000km in 37 days to arrive in the US

Leading Indian exporter INI Farms – part of the AgroStar Group – has shipped its first container of Kimaye-branded pomegranates to the US via seafreight.

INI Farms celebrates the first Kimaye pomegranate shipment exported to the US

INI Farms celebrates the first Kimaye pomegranate shipment exported to the US

The outcome is the result of more than year-long joint efforts of the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), Ministry of Commerce and Industry - GOI, Ministry of Agriculture Govt of Maharashtra, Maharashtra State Agricultural Marketing Board (MSAMB), United States Department of Agriculture APHIS (USDA APHIS), NPPO, Pomegranate National Research Centre and INI Farms.

This encompassed various initiatives from farm registrations, training & monitoring, air shipment trials, development of sea protocol, static trials for shelf-life extension and post-harvest treatment.

The container was flagged off by Shri Rajesh Aggarwal, additional secretary, Ministry of Commerce and Shri Abhishek Dev, chairman of APEDA at MSAMB’s Irradiation Facility Centre in Vashi (Navi Mumbai).

The event was graced by dignitaries from MSAMB, Regional Plant Quarantine Station (RPQS - MoA&FW), US Consulate and US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), APEDA and NRC Solapur.

The consignment of 4,200 boxes (12.6 tonnes) of ‘Kimaye’ pomegranates is set to travel 20,000km in 37 days to arrive in the US.

Pankaj Khandelwal, co-chief executive of INI Farms, said the company was proud to be a pioneer in developing the pomegranate trade.

“This milestone is part of the continuous efforts of the entire INI Farms team that has helped put the Indian farmer on the world map by making great quality Indian fruits available worldwide. We are grateful for the support provided by APEDA, NRC Solapur, RPQS, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, MoA&FW, MSAMB, Maharashtra Agriculture Ministry and USDA APHIS in making this possible,” said Khandelwal.

APEDA chairman Abhishek Dev said India’s fresh fruit exports were seeing year-on-year growth and pomegranate shipments alone had grown 20 per cent year-on-year.

“This initiative is a collaborative effort from the production side, the exporter and the buyers. We are grateful to the efforts of the USDA officials who helped us implement the right practices. We also developed sea protocols which have helped us build a 60-day shelf life of the product and preserve its quality,” said Dev.

“With the success of this first commercial sea trial shipment of pomegranates to the US, we are hopeful that it will open up many more opportunities for fruit and vegetable exports to the US.”

Rajesh Agarwal, additional secretary of the Ministry of Commerce, said there is a huge opportunity for Indian agricultural exports.

“India’s unique agro-climatic conditions combined with the vast diversity of fruit and vegetable offerings and our ability to grow produce around the year give us a unique advantage in the global fruit and vegetable trade,” said Agarwal.

“Such initiatives are connecting Indian farmers to the world and this will massively benefit both parties as global consumers will get the opportunity to enjoy Indian produce and as a result, Indian farmers will prosper with the help of access to global markets. This initiative is a good start and a testament to the growing Indo-US relations.”

Ajay Rao, regional managing director, South Asia of the DFC, said the corporation was proud to partner with INI Farms.

“INI Farms is playing a key role in increasing farmer incomes, providing employment to rural women with an 80 per cent female workforce at their Baramati packhouse, and reducing food wastage to less than 2 per cent in the whole process with their near-farm post-harvest practices. We are confident this initiative will open up more opportunities to create a positive impact on the Indian agriculture ecosystem in the future,” said Rao.