Pomegranate is a vital fruit grown in India. It has originated from Iran and is cultivated extensively in Mediterranean countries such as Spain, Morocco, Egypt, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Baluchistan. Pomegranate farming is much prevalent in Myanmar, China, the USA as well as India.
India ranks first in the world in pomegranate farming. Key producing states in India include Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Rajasthan.
With an area of 90 thousand ha, Maharashtra leads with an annual output of 9.45 lakh Mt tones and productivity of 10.5 Mt / ha. The state of Maharashtra accounts for 78 percent of India’s total area and 84 percent of the country’s total output.
Introduction To Pomegranate
Pomegranate is one of the favorite fruits on the table. The fresh fruits can also be used for the preparation of processed items such as water, syrup, squash, jelly, anar rub, water concentrate, carbonated cold-drinks, Anar dana tablets, acids, etc. The juice is useful for people suffering from leprosy.
Known as a crop resistant to the drought, pomegranate or anar fruit is native to Iran. They continue to give a good yield for the next century and a half once they start fruiting. It is also one of India’s most commonly grown commercial fruits. India is the top pomegranate producer globally. Pomegranates are grown commercially in Maharashtra in India. In the states of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh, they are planted on a smaller scale.
The fruit doesn’t look especially appealing from outside. Its shape, a peculiar combination of a circle and a hexagon, with a prominent calyx on one end, makes it one fruit that can not be determined by its leathery skin color. It’s a difficult job to break it open, but once finished, it exposes a thick collection of seeds nestled in a whitish, spongy pulp.
They deliver a burst of sweet-tart, crimson-colored juice as you take a mouthful of the red arils, accompanied by the crunchiness of the tiny seed embedded in each aril. When you savor a pomegranate (Punica granatum L.), the only fruit available in the year, it is unlikely that you will go for its packed version.
Where does Pomegranate grow? A Bit More About Pomegranate Farming
The pomegranate tree is deciduous in areas where the winter temperature drops extremely low. The tree in tropical regions is partly evergreen and evergreen. Pomegranates usually tend to grow in the dry climate. During the growth of the fruit and ripening phases, it requires hot and dry climatic conditions. It needs warm and dry summer weather and cold and dry winter weather. It can’t withstand frost, however, it does rise well in shades.
In the case of pomegranate farming, the climatic and plant conditions are taken into account. They are planted as mrig-bahar, irrigation (planting during mid-May, June-July) is performed periodically before the monsoons are set in. Watering shall be performed once in 2 weeks in winter and weekly in summer.
World Famous Pomegranates In India
Six different commercial varieties of fruit grow in India – Ganesh, Mridula, Arakta, Ruby, Phule Bhagwa, and Phule Bhagwa Super. The fruits are home to the most excellent pomegranate varieties and have soft seeds with fewer acids. The consistency of the fruit is, in fact, much superior to those grown in right consistency and beauty in Spain and Iran.
Pomegranate Farming In India
Mainly grown in the western parts of Maharashtra and northwestern Karnataka, followed by Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu, countless villages in the districts of Solapur, Nasik, Sangli, Ahmednagar, Pune, and Satara make Maharashtra the country’s pomegranate bowl, with 71.21 percent of the country’s total area under grenade cultivation.
The credit for creating an aboriginal pomegranate variety goes to G.S. Cheema, considered the father of Indian horticulture who worked with a native, wild-type pomegranate variety known as Alandi at Pune’s Ganeshkhind Fruit Experiment Station and published the GBG-1 type for commercial cultivation at Maharashtra in 1936. GBG-1 was renamed into Ganesh in 1970.
In 1984, Rahuri released G-137, a significant commercial variety, MPKV (Mahatma Phule Krishi Vidyapeeth). The search for new types of pomegranate was on with Tamil Nadu Agriculture University and University of Agriculture Sciences, Bengaluru also releasing their varieties, particularly with soft seeds and bright, attractive colour of rind and arils. New crosses were made with Ganesh at MPKV in 1987 with the introduction of Russian varieties, namely Gul-e-Shah Red, Gul-e-Shah Rose Pink, and Shirin, which possess attractive colour attributes.
Pomegranate Farming In India Is Growing At A Tremendous Speed
Reaching prospective farmers through farmer rallies, and visiting orchards in the summer months, when the temperature peaks at 45 ° C in Maharashtra, Vinay has single-handedly popularized pomegranate farming in the rain-fed regions of the state, bringing prosperity to those who rely on horticulture for their livelihood.
At the end of its 650 km, says the 56-year-old horticulture scientist. Field tour, starting with Buldhana, Akot, and Washim and finishing at Rahuri, Bhagwa has done exceptionally well in the fields of farmers and has emerged as the leading cultivar for both domestic and export markets, mainly because of its broad consumer appeal for soft seeds and bright red arils. Pomegranate farming is being loved by the farmers and is going to be one of the top-grossing business in India.
Market Mechanisms Of Pomegranate Farming In India
Pomegranates arrive in the market in February, offering farmers a premium price, but as the new entrants, namely mangoes and grapes, join the mandis in mid-March, pomegranates meet with the competition, leading to a decline in prices. The fruit fetches a cost of some 70-80/kg in the initial months but soon drops to some 35/kg.
Because India produces the most exceptional edible quality of pomegranates, available almost year-round, there is tremendous export potential. The State Marketing Board for Agriculture of Maharashtra has made many attempts, which involve building an export facility in Jalochi (Baramati) and obtaining the MAHAPOM brand name. It has qualified thousands of farmers to produce quality exports and has licensed them with GLOBALGAP certification. GLOBALGAP is an NGO setting voluntary standards for the certification of agricultural products around the globe. However, still much remains to be done.
Post-Harvest Technologies Help Farmers Earn Millions
Another field requiring attention is the advancement of post-harvest technology. While NRCP, which was established in 2005, has among its objectives post-harvest management, hardly much has been done in this region. A pomegranate deseeder was developed by Uddhab Kumar Bharal, recipient of the National Grassroots Innovation Award 2009 for President. The computer was sold into Turkey and the United States. But it has hardly any takers in India, and those interested in the growth of post-harvest technologies are entirely ignorant of it.
Admits R.K. Pal, Director of the NRCP based in Sholapur, No machine can extract 100 percent damage-free pomegranate arils (edible part). If one aril gets harmed in the box, the whole lot gets ruined. Due to climate change, water shortage, small landholdings, etc., the socio-economic scenario is changing rapidly. Hence, because of its more extensive adaptability, the pomegranate crop is becoming popular and thriving. It is a highly remunerative crop to replace subsistence farming, with great potential for wasteland production. The pomegranate also matches arid and semi-arid topography and agro-climate.
The variety Phule Bhagwa Super has come to Maharashtra as a boon for farmers. It is our earnest desire to take it in Karnataka, Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Madhya Pradesh to dry-land farmers. They, too, should get into pomegranate farming and share the superfood with health-conscious people, K.P. Vishwanatha, MPKV, Rahuri, Vice-Chancellor.