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Pineapple cultivation and processing in Pakistan.

Pineapple Cultivation and Processing in Pakistan

When Betels (Paan) can be grown in Pakistan why can't commercial cultivation of Pineapple be undertaken. It is in great demand in local as well as export markets. The flesh of the fruit is light yellow, almost fibreless, very juicy and has a characteristic flavour with agreeable taste.

Pineapples are grown in many tropical and sub-tropical countries but unlike most other fruits, only a relatively small proportion of the total output is consumed as fresh fruit and, in many countries, the entire crop is reserved for canning. Canned pineapple is the second most important fruit entering international trade. Quality canned products, including slices, juices, Tit-Bits, Chunks, Jams etc can be produced in the country.

History of Pineapple

The Pineapple (Ananas, comosus), was first discovered in West Indies by Columbus, in 1743 and was found to be a common, improved constituent of diets of inhabitants of the tropical South America.

One of the principal commercial fruits of the world it is a member of the Bromeliaceae family. A native of the tropics Brazil being its home from where it spread to other parts of the world. There are over 90 varieties of Pineapples grown all over the World divided into three distinct groups, viz: CAYENNE, QUEEN AND RED SPANISH. Among the commercial varieties grown the most important one are: GIANTKEW, SMOOTH CHYENNE, HILA, QUEEN, SINGAPORE, SPANISH, SARAWAK, MAURITIUS AND FEMBUCO.


The production of Pineapple in World is increasing. According to an estimate in 1958 it was 1,854,000 tons which rose to 8.87 million tons in 1981 and in 1990 the production exceeded more than 10 million tons.

According to figures available the main producing countries are the principal areas extending over 300 in latitude north and south of Equator, namely, HAWAII, PHILIPPINES, MALAYSIA, AUSTRALIA, SOUTH AFRICA, PUERTO-RICO, KENYA, MEXICO, CUBA AND TAIWAN.

Though India and Bangladesh both produce considerable quantities of Pineapple yet, from the point of view of exports, they are not considered important.

In India the cultivation of Pineapple has been estimated at about 60,000 hectares producing over 6 lac tons of fruit. Kerala is the most important Pineapple growing state, followed by Assam, Maghalaya, West Bengal, Karnatak, Manipur, Tripura and Bihar.

In Bangladesh, the main growing areas are Sylhet, Srimangal, Joldhup, Comilla, Ghorasal, Medhupur and Shware etc. (Right from 1962 upto the fall of East Pakistan now Bangladesh, the present writer remained incharge of large food processing industries including that of Pineapple, in Dhaka, and written a number of articles on the cultivation and canning of the fruit. The growers had benefited from them considerably. They had helped also in achieving substantial increase in the production of Pineapples.

For the last four years the Pakistan Agricultural Research Council has also been doing some research work on package of pineapple production technology and has succeeded to some extent in producing pineapple in Pakistan.


The factors related to the cultivation of pineapple are: Soil, climate, rainfall, planting and spacing etc. They are discussed in detail below: SOIL, PINEAPPLE can be grown in a wide range of soils, from rich red soils to poor sand fertile loam. Throughout the tropics it is grown on the red or reddish brown latrite soils containing iron oxide.

In HAWAII, dark soils contain as big as 22.94 per cent of ferric oxide, while in Cuba, another newly developed pineapple area, it is about 13.5 per cent. Pineapple it should be noted tolerate wet feet. The soil must therefore be well drained. High calcium content in the form of lime affects its growth. It often causes chlorosis a disease plant.

Preparation for the soil takes about 6-8 months old pineapple plants are knocked down first and ploughed in to the soil to provide organic matter. Before planting the field is ploughed again. Fresh ploughing or a combination of both procedure would also be advantageous.


Tropical climate is suitable for the cultivation of pineapple because the fruits cannot withstand frost and can be grown upto an altitude of 5,000 ft. only. At higher altitude the fruits become smaller in size, with poor flavour and high acidity.


Temperature of the soil too plays an important part. Experience has shown that if temperature of the soil goes down below 68 [degrees] F, the growth activity largely ceases. However, in Hawaii and Queensland, where average maximum and minimum temperatures are 85 [degrees] F and 5 [degrees] F respectively, the pineapple grows well.

Inadequate sun-shine also affects the growth resulting in smaller fruit are of poor quality that lacks sugar but excessive sun-shine may cause sun burning also of the nearly mature fruit. To ward against this danger shading of the plants with straw or banana leaves is practised in some places.

Tests carried out with concentrated Hydrochloric Acid to reduce the size of the crown gave the encouraging results one or two drops of commercial concentrated hydrochloric Acid placed in the centre of the crown of 8 week old fruit before harvest reduces the size of the crown.

Total destruction of the crown with Acid altered the shape of the fruit and increased the yield of slices by 10-20% which will benefit the canners.

Crop Cycle

Crop cycle in different countries extends to many years. In Hawaii, it extends to four or five years. In India and Bangladesh plantations are generally done continuously without any replanting until the fruits become small in size and inferior in quality. Generally, growers do not consider it economical to take the second routine crop because of normal low yields.


The pineapple plant can be propagated from slips, suckers, crowns or stems. Slips originate from the stem just below the fruit, suckers from the leaf just above or below the ground level and crown from the upper portion of the fruit. Crown takes 22-24 months, whereas slips and suckers take 18-20 months for fruiting.

In order to obtain well developed planting material and thus advance the first harvest of the new crop by 8-10 months, it is suggested that the stem suckers be allowed to grow on the mother plant for 6-8 weeks after harvesting, prior to planting.

In Pakistan in the coastal belt of Sindh and Balochistan, planting commences from March and continues up to July in parts of Balochistan plateau from April to May in Sindh from March to April in Punjab from April to May in the Punjab foot-hills and NWFP from April to June early planting in the season is recommended with adequate irrigation facilities.


In Hawaii and other countries, when the space between the plant is 22.5 cm, 25 cm, 27.5 cm, 30 cm, the yield is reported to be 74.0, 65.8, 61.0, 56.9 tons per hectare respectively. In the closer planting system the plants tend to grow taller without unduly affecting the size of the fruit.

Maturing and Harvesting

In Hawaii, South Africa and Malaysia ammonium sulphate is used with an interval of 3 to 6 months, before and after the planting. The total weight of ammonium sulphate used is between 200 to 350 lbs per acre.

In some other countries, chemicals such as ammonium sulphate, potassium sulphate etc. are also used. For manuring in Pakistan and Bangladesh ammonium sulphate is recommended for use.


The harvesting of the fruit starts after it becomes matured. Though in Hawaii Island the fruits are available throughout the year yet the peak period is from June to the middle of September. The fruit is harvested and processed in a factory within 24 to 48 hours. In Kerala (India), 50 per cent of the crop is harvested during May and June and 40 per cent from December to April and the rest in October.

Yield of Pineapple

It has been estimated that the pineapple varies in different countries, depending upon the quality of land manuring and other methods of cultivation.

In India the yield of Queen and Mauritius varieties has been found 12.5 - 17.5 tonnes and of Kew 25-30 tonnes per Hectare for the plant crop, the yield being progressively less for the ratoon crops. In Hawaii, the gross yield per Hectare for smooth Cayenne between 111 to 185 tonnes, the plant crop being 62-86 tonnes, the first ratoon from 49 to 62 tonnes and the second ratoon from nothing to 37 tonnes.

World Trade

Large quantities of canned pineapple entered International Trade, since in many of the producing countries the domestic market is small and the industries are largely dependent upon export market for the disposal of their output. The United States is the World's largest producer and consumer of canned pineapple. United States, U.K. Germany, Canada and Japan all are importing considerable quantities of pineapple every year and these five countries are consuming about 70% of the World trade.

Among Asian countries, Taiwan, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand are the main exporters of canned pineapples to the World.


Processing and canning of pineapple have assumed great importance throughout the world. Ripeness of the fruit is of great importance in determining the ultimate quality, over ripe and under ripe fruit must be rejected for processing because of the deterioration of physical, chemical properties.

Storage & Transportation

The crown of the fruit is not removed in some countries particularly in Malaysia. The fruits are graded according to weight and stage of Ripeness, which is judged on the basis of coloured bracts. If more than 5% of the fruit in a lot is sub-standard the canner has the right to reject such fruits. In Hawaii the fruits are graded according to size based on the diameter of cans used to pack the slices.

In East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) when the writer was incharge of a large area canning and processing factory before the fall of East Pakistan. There was no proper method for sizing and grading. The fruit were valued according to the size and variety.

Canning of Pineapples

At present there are many countries in the World which are canning pineapple and exporting large quantities. At first the pineapples had been canned in Hawaii for about 50 years before commercial production of juice started.

Until 1912 the fruit was trimmed, sliced and packed by hand then James D. Dole mechanized the peeling, coring process by installing the first Ginace machine, which was improve in 1922 and again in 1925. By this machine the efficiency increased and cost of production reduced.

The quality of pineapple is dependent upon a number of factors as (1) Variety, Nutrition, Exposure, Weather, Ripeness and freedom from blemishes insects or diseases.

There is no proper method for sizing and grading the fruits for canning purposes in India and Bangladesh. The fruits are valued according to the size and variety.

The writer had the opportunity of canning pineapple and pineapple products (Pineapple slices, chunks, tit bits, juices etc.) in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) when he was the G.M. and Technical Advisor of large canning and processing factory. The brand (Star Brand) was very much popular in whole of Pakistan and other countries. The pineapple juice (Star Brand) was packed in printed tins.

Pineapple can be grown easily in many parts of Pakistan and different products can be manufactured.

The writer has surveyed the Karachi markets including super markets and found that various foreign brands such as Delmonte, Malapine, Monty, Starue are available in the stores at a very high prices and even the people are buying.

Delmonte Brand Pineapples slices was selling at Rs. 528/Doz. weighing Net wt. 836 grams. Similarly malapine brand broken slices weighing in 454 gms. was selling at Rs. 454 per dozen.

If pineapple can be canned in Pakistan after growing the cost of production would be reduced substantially and it would be sold atleast half the price than the imported products.
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Article Details
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Author:Nazri, M.M.
Publication:Economic Review
Date:Nov 1, 1991
Previous Article:Sugarcane availability and prospects - 1991-1992.
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