Juice brand Pomegreat says ethical sourcing behind Afghan project

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Pomegranate, functional beverage, beverage

Ethical sourcing and developing the potential of the Afghan pomegranate market are the factors informing a decision by leading UK pomegranate juice brand Pomegreat to accelerate its involvement in a development project in Afghanistan, said the firm.

The juice manufacturer said that it has formalized its partnership with UK based charity Children in Crisis through funding totaling £10,000 in order to help increase awareness of and stimulate more funding for existing or new children focused educational projects in warn torn Afghanistan.

A spokesperson for Pomegreat told Nutraingredients.com that it has, not yet, clarified whether it is going to market the initiative using front of pack labelling or other such branding options but that the project was one element in its new corporate responsibility focus on that particular country for the year ahead.

She said that the company is also considering involvement in projects focused on farmer training and development that would also result in greater pomegranate yields in Afghanistan.

The corporate responsibility initiative follows a deal by Pomegreat in February this year which saw it become the first company in the world to sign a deal to export pomegranate juice and pomegranates from the Omaid Bahar factory in Kabul.

Pomegreat traditionally sources its pomegranates from countries like Turkey, Iran, Israel and Spain but the spokesperson said that the CEO of Pomegreat, Adam Pritchard, has been waiting for five years to be able to source the superfruit from Afghanistan as he considers the quality of the juice from the Afghan variety to be superior to other varieties.

The firm’s deal with Afghanistan's first fruit processing facility is valued at an estimated £3m and Pomegreat said it covers sourcing during the period 2010 to 2011, with a commitment to buy a minimum of 500 tons of pomegranate concentrate and 500 tons of fresh fruit.

It is claimed that the USAID backed Omaid Bahar factory, which opened in October last year, will buy fruit from 50,000 Afghan farmers, will create 200 jobs with Afghan women comprising approximately 35 per cent of staff and will eventually produce and export fruit concentrate and fresh fruit to all global markets.

Meanwhile, last year this publication reported on another Afghan scheme, POM354, that aims to replace poppy plantations with pomegranate orchards and which is the brainchild of James Brett, a co-founder of Pomegreat - a company he retains a large share in but no longer works for.

With its strong humanitarian focus, POM354 functions in a sense like a FairTrade logo in that it represents ethical sourcing for end-product manfacturers.

According to United Nations and Afghan government figures, poppy farmers can generate about €1,500 per acre. Switching to pomegranates can yield €3,750 per acre, Brett said.

POM354 funds will be used to establish offices and factories and provide education and support to farmers scrapping their poppy operations.

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