A Pune-based firm is setting up a factory in Baramati to mechanically extract the seeds of pomegranate,known as arils,for export
Here’s something for pomegranate lovers,especially those who cant be bothered to peel the skin off before getting to the red,fleshy seeds. A Pune-based firm is setting up a factory in Baramati to mechanically extract these seeds,known as arils,for export. This process could have huge domestic potential also,but that may take a while.
Fresh Acres Agri India has set up a joint venture with an Israeli company Juron Metal Works to bring in the technology to mechanically extract the arils,arguably being done for the first time in India. The Israel company is also in talks with one in Gujarat for a similar venture.
We export pomegranate to Europe where customers prefer ease in eating. For such markets,one needs the fruits to be untouched by humans and therefore we are going in for mechanisation, said Datta Kadam,chief executive of Fresh Acres; the plant will be inaugurated next week. This is happening at a time when National Horticulture Mission (NHM) was toying with the idea of promoting a similar enterprise but one targeted at pomegranate entrepreneurs for domestic exploitation.
The NHM project is yet to take off. We had prepared a proposal to bring this technology for demonstration purposes to the College of Agriculture,Pune so that domestic growers could consider such a technique. While there are exports to be considered,this extraction machinery has great domestic potential in the growing market as well, said B V Gopal Reddy,Mission Director,Maharashtra State Horticulture and Medicinal Plants Board.
At present,however,firms are concentrating on aril extraction for exports. Prabhakar Chandane,president of All-India Pomegranate Growers Association,Pune said seven-to-eight containers of arils,extracted manually,were exported from the state last year.
Similarly,Hyderabad-based Sam Agritech exported 250 tonnes of arils by air last year,but has no intention of taking to mechanised extraction. GVK Naidu of Sam Agritech said the company had the necessary hygiene conditions for exports. We explored the mechanisation option two years ago,and decided against it. Manually extracted arils have 20 per cent more shelf life, he said.
According to Chandane,the machine requires large-sized fruits that cost Rs 70-80 per kg in the market. But the catch is farmers would rather export these fruits directly and get a good price. If the extraction for the smaller sized fruits priced at Rs 20-30 per kg can be done mechanically then it might benefit the farmers, he said.