California's production decreases by up to 15%

Peruvian pomegranates have opportunities in the US

California's pomegranate harvest is predicted to be 10% to 15% lower than last year. Peru has a great opportunity to meet the growing demand for this product in the US, as a result of the domestic deficit, stated the Peruvian Ocex in Washington DC. Also, because Peru's pomegranate harvest takes place between March and May, while the US harvest goes from October to January, Peruvian exporters have the opportunity of filling the gap in a market which temporatilly lacks domestic produce. 

The approval of access for the import of Peruvian pomegranates by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in June, after an arduous certification process by the Health Service Animal and Plant (APHIS), has generated new expectations and interesting opportunities for the export of this fruit, both in fresh and in value-added presentations.

Achieving access to the largest market for pomegranates in the world will open new doors for Peruvian exporters and it will support an increase of the non-traditional export supply, stated the Ocex.

The US demand for fresh pomegranates has had a strong growth in the last decade. According to the International Trade Commission, in 2015 pomegranate sales amounted to more than $122 million dollars, i.e. almost 2% more than in the previous year.

There's more interest in pomegranates in the US because consumers see it as a super-fruit, due to its high health benefits and nutritional values.

The pomegranate is considered the most powerful antioxidant fruit. It also provides high immunological effects.

This fruit also helps reduce cholesterol, lowers blood pressure, and is a good natural treatment for diseases like cancer.

India has been the world's largest producer of pomegranates since 2013 and one of the largest exporters of fresh and processed pomegranates - more than 745,000 tons last year. Iran is the second largest producer, followed by China.

In the United States, California is the main producer, accounting for an average of 90% of the domestic production.

However, the five-year drought in California has led to agricultural changes and producers are currently focusing on products that require less water, such as pistachio and almonds, that also have high selling prices.

Thus, US production of pomegranates has fallen drastically, leaving consumers searching for suppliers.

Considering the high expectations generated by the approval of the access of Peruvian fresh pomegranates to the US market, it is important that producers not only try to export this fresh fruit but diversify their offer with added-value products.

This could help them enter new markets and improve their position in a country that is currently the world's largest market for pomegranates.


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