The juice of Pomegranate is highly prized for its high levels of
anti-oxidants that have been shown to improve cardiovascular
health. Recent medical research reported that pomegranate extract
aided the inhibition of growth of breast cancer cells. Further
research indicates that pomegranates aid the reduction of skin
cancers and skin allergies. A daily glass of pomegranate juice
has also been found to slow the development of prostate cancers. These
findings together with other research have intensified the interest
in pomegranate in Western and Asian countries.
The pomegranate thrives on a range of soils from calcareous,
alkaline soil to deep, acidic loam and a wide range of soils
in-between these extremes. It is adapted to a wide range of climates
from subtropical to Mediterranean areas with cool winters and
hot summers. It will tolerate cold temperatures during winter
down to –9 C and is drought hardy.
Pomegranates require irrigation for fast establishment and early
commencement of production and will tolerate brackish water without
loss of yield. The key irrigation period is from flowering and
peaking during the fruit development and at maturation-where lack
of water at this time may cause fruit splitting.
Main variety is Pomegranate “Wonderful” with its large
well-coloured fruit and the heavy and consistent cropping. Wonderful
is self-fertile with the fruit having good juice content and sugar
levels. This variety is used in traditional plantings.
Further varieties are being trialled for traditional and intensive
Opportunities exist in Australia in a number of market segments
Fresh fruit market - imported fruit has been achieving
$60 to $70 per tray of 24 fruit in the Sydney wholesale fruit market.
Currently there is very little local production
The pomegranate is equal to the apple in having a long storage
life. It is best maintained at a temperature of 32º to 41º F
(0º-5º C) and may be kept for a period of up to 7 months
within this temperature range and at 80 to 85% relative humidity,
without shrinking or spoiling.
- Fresh Juice Market - this has been achieving
huge growth in the US with the key aspects focused on the health
benefits of the juice with its anti-oxidant properties. This market
has grown from zero to US$120,000,000 business in the last 5 years
and is experiencing 50% growth per year. This has been confined
to the west coast of the US due to lack of supply. This will take
off in Australia once the production is available.
- A compliment for Mediterranean food dishes.
Strong demand for the fresh separated pomegranate arils has seen
prices in the UK of around A $25 per Kilogram
- Food preparation-a base to make wine, punches,
gelatine deserts, pudding sauces and jellies
Health supplement-strong interest in the daily consumption as a
health supplement and for cosmetic use
Export opportunities from Australia to the US, Asia, Germany and
the UK exist for the supply of fruit, arils and juice.
Pomegranates are planted at 5 or 6 metre x 4 metre planting density
and grown with a central leader using a flexible training system.
High-density plantings using low vigour varieties are at 4 metres
x 4 metre spacing.
Production usually commences in the 2nd to
3 rd year and at full production will produce up to 20 to 25
tonne or more per hectare at maturity (the seeds or pulp-which
is the juice, represents about 52% of the fruit weight). The
fruit ripens 6 to 7 months after flowering and is ready for harvest
during April and May.
Picking is currently by hand with usually 2 passes at around 2
weeks apart through the grove to ensure all the fruit is picked
at optimum stage of development.
Juicing can utilise modified grape crushing equipment.