Announcement Information Paper

​​​​Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, July 2018


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Commencement of a review of biosecurity import requirements for fresh pomegranate fruit from India

The commencement of this risk analysis is in response to a market access request for fresh pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) fruit from India. India has also requested market access for pomegranate arils that are processed and ready-to-eat. The department will consider India’s request to export arils separately from fresh pomegranate fruit.  

There are two types of risk analyses used by the department:

  • a Biosecurity Import Risk Analysis (BIRA) which is conducted through a regulated process provided for in the Biosecurity Act 2015 and the Biosecurity Regulation 2016; and
  • a non-regulated risk analysis, such as a review of biosecurity import requirements.

A preliminary assessment of the pests associated with fresh pomegranate fruit from India has identified that the potential pests of quarantine concern are the same, or of the same pest groups, as those that have been assessed previously by Australia on pomegranate or on other horticultural commodities. The identified potential pests of quarantine concern are a bacterium, a fungus and sixteen species (see below).

Given the identities of pests of concern, and that there are appropriate risk management measures already established for these pests or pest groups, the risk analysis for fresh pomegranate fruit from India will be progressed as a review of biosecurity import requirements (a non-regulated risk analysis), which is consistent with the Biosecurity Import Risk Analysis Guidelines 2016.


Pomegranate (Punica granatum) is a fruit-bearing small tree member of the family Lythraceae (alt. Punicaceae). Pomegranate trees can grow to a height of between five and eight metres in semi-arid to sub-tropical climates and are naturally adapted to regions with cool winters and hot summers. Pomegranate originated from the region that covers Iran and Afghanistan, and is now cultivated in Australia, China, India, New Zealand, the USA and the Mediterranean countries.

Commodity to be assessed

The risk analysis will cover fresh pomegranate fruit for human consumption from India.

Pomegranate fruit is a berry of about 5 to 12 centimetres in diameter with a rounded hexagonal shape, comprising three parts: the outer skin, mesocarp and seeds. Each berry contains around 600 seeds, and each seed is surrounded by a water-laden pulp (aril) ranging in colour from white to deep red or purple. The arils are the edible part of the fruit and represent about 55 to 60 per cent of the fruit weight. A higher public awareness of the nutritional and health benefits of pomegranate fruit, particularly in the western world, has led to a marked increase in its consumption. Pomegranate fruit is consumed either fresh or in processed forms such as juice, jam, jelly, vinegar, wine, oil and extract supplements.

Pomegranate industry in India

India is one of the largest producers of pomegranate in the world. It produced over 1.3 million tonnes of pomegranate in 2013–2014, and exported 31,328 tonnes to trading partners including Bangladesh, Kuwait, the Netherlands, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates. India’s production increased to about 2.2 million tonnes in 2015–2016.

The state of Maharashtra is the leading producer of pomegranate, contributing 66 per cent of the pomegranate cultivated in India. Other major pomegranate producing Indian states are Karnataka, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh. Table 1 provides a breakdown of pomegranate production by state in India.

Table 1: Production of pomegranate in Indian states in 2013–2014
StateProduction area (ha)Production (Tons)
Andhra Pradesh6,00090,010
Madhya Pradesh2,38025,290
Tamil Nadu40013,090

Source: Ganeshkumar, R, Bhattacharyya, K, Narsimhaiah, L and Santosh, S 2016, ‘Performance of pomegranates export from India’, Economic Affairs, vol. 61, no. 4, pp. 1–6.

Pomegranate is produced throughout the year in India. The main commercially grown varieties are ‘Arakta’, ‘Bhagwa’, ‘Ganesh’ and ‘Ruby’.

Australian pomegranate fruit imports

Australia currently permits the importation of fresh pomegranate fruit from New Zealand and the United States of America (USA).

Pomegranate industry in Australia

The Australian pomegranate industry is small and is largely focussed on the domestic market. Pomegranate is produced in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia. The pomegranate variety ‘Wonderful’ dominates commercial production in Australia. Fruit of this variety is of medium size, has dark red skin and is ideal for juicing. Other pomegranate varieties grown in Australia include ‘Azerbajanii’, ‘Rosavaya’, ‘Big Red’, ‘Jennings’, ‘Jativa’ and ‘Griffith’. The primary varieties that are grown in India are not reported to be grown commercially in Australia.

Trade between Australia and India

India is Australia’s tenth largest trading partner with two-way goods and services trade totalling $19.6 billion in 2016–2017. Of this amount, Australian exports to India constituted $15.12 billion. In 2016–2017, Australia exported $155.9 million in horticultural products to India including nuts ($142 million), fruits ($3.4 million) and other horticultural products ($9.9 million).

Preliminary assessment of Indian pomegranate fruit

A preliminary assessment identified pests potentially associated with fresh pomegranate fruit from India and requiring further consideration to be one species of bacterium, one fungus, a fruit-borer butterfly, three fruit flies, three mites, five mealybugs and four moths. Further assessment of these potential pests will determine which will require risk management measures to achieve Australia’s appropriate level of protection.

India has also requested market access for processed, ready-to-eat pomegranate arils, however, the department will address this request separately to that for fresh pomegranate fruit. This is because a preliminary assessment of the potential quarantine pests of fresh pomegranate fruit and pomegranate arils indicated that the potential quarantine pests and pathway are different. Therefore, it is expected that the risk management measures required for arils will differ from those required for fresh pomegranate fruit.

Next steps

A draft report of this review of biosecurity import requirements is expected to be published on the department’s website, in mid-2019. Stakeholders will have an opportunity to submit comments on the draft report for a period of 60 days.

All comments will be assessed and, where relevant, amendments will be incorporated into the final report.

The recommendations in the final report will reflect the completion of the risk analysis for fresh pomegranate fruit from India. The recommended measures will have been assessed as scientifically sound and appropriate to manage any potential risks to Australia’s biosecurity presented by the importation of fresh pomegranate fruit from India.

If you would like to know more about this review or the risk analysis review process please email Plant stakeholder​ or phone 1800 900 090 (option 1, options 1).


Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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