Overproduction, heat cut prices of pomegranate

Like most fruits and vegetables this season, pomegranates too are seeing a downward trend in prices in Maharashtra. Thanks to a bumper harvest and heat condition, pomegranate prices have dropped to Rs. 20-30 per kg in several key growing regions. Last year, the prices were to the tune of Rs. 50-60 per kg the same time. According to Prabhakar Chandane, chairman of Maharashtra Pomegranate Growers Research Association (MPGRA), production this season has increased by nearly 2,00,000 to 2,50 000 tonne to touch some 18 lakh tonne. The quality has been affected due to high temperature although there has been a bumper crop due to good monsoon the previous year, he said. Moreover, because of the heat, almost all fruits – mangoes, grapes, oranges and watermelons – are in the market at the same time, impacting the prices. Significantly, other states including Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka have begun cultivating pomegranates. Maharashtra leads the pomegranate cultivation with approximately 1,75,000 hectare (which is 90% of the country’s total pomegranate production) and other states total 30,000 to 40,000 hectare. Moreover, this season, flowering has happened late which has led to a delay in harvesting. Compared to 20,000 tonne of exports in the 2015-16, this season’s exports have been down and so far 200 tonne have gone to Europe.