Pomegranate farmers in the Indian state of Maharashtra are staring at difficult times as drought has cast a shadow on more than 50 per cent of the orchards. All India Pomegranate Growers Federation president Prabhakar Chandane said export prospects for the fruit were dim because of the drought.
For this year, the federation was aiming exports of 10,000 tonnes of pomegranate to Europe and around 70,000 tonnes to other countries. Chandane said the window for exports to the European Union is between September 15 and March 15. “As the drought progresses there are chances that growers might not be able to produce enough for both the domestic as well as international market.”
Other than the EU, the fruit is also exported to the UAE and other Middle East countries.
Of the 180,000 hectares of area under pomegranate cultivation in India, Maharashtra alone has 130,000 hectares with Pune, Solapur, Jalna, portions of Satara and Sangli districts leading in production of the fruit. More than 60 per cent of the pomegranate growing area of the state has been affected by drought. The federation has asked for immediate compensation along with an increase in subsidy for construction of water tanks, among others.