Agri Kultuur January / January 2018 - Page 47

Although pomegranates are grown commercially in South Africa, it is still an emerging industry and research into production and post-harvest practices has been limited compared to other fruit types. The fact that the market for pomegranates is grow- ing, however, makes it essential to study this fruit in depth. In the interest of establishing and main- taining a competitive edge in the global market, there is an undisputed need to develop innovative, science-based tools and quality standards for the South African pomegranate industry. These should include effective post-harvest management in the areas of packaging, storage, transport and the detection and control of post-harvest diseases and disorders. FAST FACTS • Pomegranate trees take six years to bear a full crop. • Pomegranates yield between 20 and 30 tonnes per hectare. • The Southern Hemisphere harvest season is from February to April. • South African pomegranates arrive on the market one week earlier than produce from Peru and Argentina. • Cultivars grown in South Africa are ‘Wonderful’, ‘Acco’, ‘Kessari’/‘Bagwha’, ‘Hershkowitz’ and ‘Angel Red’. • Export volumes increased by 31%, to 4 173 tonnes, between 2014 and 2015. • The volume of pomegranates delivered to the local market increased more than four times between 2011 and 2016. • South Africa exports pomegranates to the EU and Russia (61%), the UK (11%), the Middle East (11%), Africa (7%), the Far East and Asia (7%), Indian Ocean islands (2%), and the USA and Canada (1%). AgriKultuur |AgriCulture 47