Pineapplesbelong to the bromeliad family, which contains 50 genera and about2500 species. They have a wide cylindrical shape, a scaly green,brown or yellow skin and a regal crown of spiny, blue-green leaves.The fibrous flesh of pineapples is yellow in colour and has a vibranttropical flavour that balances the taste of sweet and tart. Theregion nearer to the base of the fruit has more sugar content andthus has a sweeter taste and more tender texture. It has dagger-likeleaves, and it is cultivated as a biennial plant. The first year itundergoes vegetative growth where the plant produces the leaves andthe second year a flowering stalk arises from the centre. On thisstalk are produced up to 200 flowers, an inflorescence, which latterforms a solid structure called multiple fruits.
Thereare many varieties of pineapples that grow in varying sizes. Theseinclude red Spanish pineapples, sugarloaf pineapple, smooth Cayennepineapple, and queen pineapple. Smooth Cayenne’s` are smooth andare the most commonly grown worldwide. Recently, scientists havedeveloped the new strain MD2 that that is sweeter than regularvarieties always grows to a uniform and ripens evenly. The strain wasestablished for a target market searching for more sweet fruits,similar in size and ripeness. The new MD2 is also called GoldenYellow.
Rootfragility is the major element in making and understanding a successin pineapple growing. The root system is shallow (about 40cm of thesoil). The roots can only grow in loose, well-aerated soil due totheir fragile nature. A slight obstacle to their growth affects plantdevelopment. Gravelly soils are not favourable for the growth ofpineapples.
Pineapplesare planted in alkaline soils during the raining season. They canstand soil with low mineral content. Soil acidity is most importantin their growth. Optimum cultivation is at PH of between 4.5 and 5.5although they tolerate PH values of 3 to 7.5. The plants are set intwin or triple rows. The spacing should be at intervals of 25 to 30cm along the row with 30 to 40 cm between the rows. The plantdensities range between 50000 to 70000 plants per hectare.
Pineapplesgrow slowly, especially in the first three or four months after theslips have been planted. Competition from weeds significantly slowsdown its growth. In extreme cases the yields lose can go beyond 50%.Weeds may act as a reproduction site and a reservoir for someparticular pests such as symphylids, mealybugs and nematodes.Control of weeds is, therefore, essential and has to be performed.This can be done using herbicides with residual action or manualweeding. However,chemical weed control can also be done on theridges. This control has to be done before the weeds exceed aparticular stage of growth.
Theplant is of sufficient mass to produce a good sized fruit at 8-9months. Artificial flowering is induced at this point. This makes thewhole farm flower and bears fruits simultaneously. One month afterinduction, a flower bud rises out of the central ring of youngleaves. The crop is ready for harvest after 3-4 months. The finaldate of harvest should allow harvesting of mature fruits with nointernal or external quality defects. The choice of harvesting dateis the most important decision made by a pineapple grower.
Thecapital needed to start pineapple farming depends on the scale ofproduction. The Large scale of production requires large initialcapital while small-scale production requires little initial capital.For large scale production, modern methods of cultivation andharvesting must be applied. These include the use of tractors infarming, use of herbicides in controlling weeds, among others. Onemust plan for the preparation of land until harvesting.
Pineapplesare important in preventing constipation. It also relievesconstipation for those who already have. It does this because itcontains fibre that helps in regulation. In addition to fibres,pineapples contain other essential nutrients and vitamins. Theseinclude vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium and calcium. They containbromelain, which relieve or even stops cold and coughs. They are alsoused in the manufacture of pineapple juice, jam, wine and processedproducts. They are also popular in their ability to build and upholdstrong bones. This is because they comprise of manganese, which is atrace element that the body needs to build bones and connectivetissues.
Pineapplesare processed into various types of products. Pineapple jam is solidgel produced from fruit pulp or juice, sugar and pectin. Jam is usedas a spread and also in confectionary and baking industry. Pineapplejuice has a very high nutritious value, making it highly demanded.Fresh-cut pineapple is vacuum packed without ant food preservativetreatment. It is marketed in a cool chain. It has very high nutritivevalue, a unique flavour and natural taste. Other important productsprocessed from pineapples include pineapples in syrup, and wine.
Economicvalue and market opportunities
Pineappleis the 3rd most significant tropical fruit in the world production.It comes after banana and citrus. Its processing has made the fruitwell known all over the world. Especially in the temperate developedworld. The primary products of pineapple include canned slices,chunks, juice and fresh fruit. The pineapples represent about 20% ofthe world production of tropical fruits, and about 70% of it isconsumed fresh in the country of origin. Thailand, Brazil, China andPhilippines produce about 50% of the world production. For the last50 years, the world production has risen by 400%.
Pineappleproduction was expected to reach 18.7 million tons in 2014. Thiswould represent 23% of the global harvest of tropical fruits.Asia-Pacific accounts for 46% of the total. However, most of theproduce goes to the development and not for export as fresh fruit.Latin America dominates in the issuance of fresh pineapple thatproduces 29% of the fruit in the world. Pineapple is expected toreach 16% of production in Africa. The harvest of pineapples isexpected to reduce in developed countries.
Thelargest importer of fresh pineapple is the United States with ademand of 38%. It is followed by the European Union, Canada, Japan,Singapore, and Korea. Pineapple international markets have increasedsince 1999. The increase is due to public awareness of the highnutritional value of pineapples. It has increased by more than 20%yearly since 2000. Nigeria is currently the 8thlargest producer of pineapple in the world, with a productioncapacity of 1052000 metric tons. It consumes almost all locally. Theproducts prospective are high for its production with growing demandfor pineapple both locally and international.
Thereis no specific model of pineapple business in Nigeria. Women areinvolved in retail marketing of pineapple. The cost of transportationin the hinterland to the cities is high. Pineapple farmers in Nigeriado not have access to qualitative market information system as thisis very vital to enable them benefit by exporting the produce. Astudy of the South African National Department of Agriculture reportof 2009 displays the growth of South Africa`s share of the worldwidepineapple market is on the rise
Despitebeing graded 39 in the world export market, the business holdssignificant potential for an upward growth curve. South Africa isranked sixth in unfermented pineapple juice exports. Nigeria is notranked despite being the largest producer of fresh pineapple on theAfrican continent. Although Nigeria is the largest producer ofpineapple in Africa, the profile of South Africa is rising graduallyin the production and processing of the fruit. Pineapple farmingfaces some challenges, such as a highly competitive market andfluctuating needs that require a creative solution. However,pineapple has many advantages not only in the economic status of thecountry but also helps in the health status of the people.
Py,C., Lacoeuilhe, J. J., & Teisson, C. (1987). Thepineapple. Cultivation and uses.G.-P. Maisonneuve et Larose.