Pineapple, scientifically known as Ananas comosus Merr. is one of the country's most popular fruits. It is also one of the top earners of foreign exchange among the country's agricultural commodities. Its fruit has tapering shape, deep eyes, yellow rind to deep yellow flesh color, has small core, crispy texture, rich flavor and distinct sweetness. It is smaller in size and has spines on the leaf and tip.The fruit contains water, carbohydrates, substantial amounts of Vitamin C and Potassium and other nutrients.(Source: Department of Agriculture, Date accessed 25 March 2014)
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Soil and Climatic Requirements
Pineapple grows best in areas where the temperature is mild (24oC to 30oC) and relatively uniform throughout the year.
In terms of rainfall, pineapple thrives best in areas where rainfall is between 1000 and 1500 mm per year and evenly distributed throughout the growing period.
Although pineapple can grow within a wide range of elevation, the ideal is from 150 to 240 meters above sea level.
The production areas for pineapple are upland areas mostly planted to coconuts with an elevation ranging from 50 to 100 meters above sea level which is still within the tolerable range of elevation.
The plant grows and produces best where the soil is well drained and with pH range of 4.5 to 5.5. The predominant soil types are San Manuel clay loam, Alaminos clay, and Luisiana clay - soils of the valleys, hills and mountains.
"Queen" pineapple thrives well in soil with adequate tillage. Two plowings each, followed by harrowing, is done at an interval of 7 to 10 days per operation. This results in a well-prepared soil and reduced weed population.
In open areas, cleaning is performed before plowing and harrowing. The number of times clearing is done depend on the soil tilth and weed incidence.
Some farmers practice zero tillage or no plowing. Pineapple suckers are planted after digging holes by means of a heavy hoe.
Preparation of Planting Materials and Planting
Suckers and crowns are two popular planting materials of Queen pineapple. Before planting, the suckers are cured by exposing the root section or butt to direct sunlight for 3 to 5 days. This prevents stem rot in the newly planted crop.
When grown as intercrop to coconut trees, pineapple may be planted using the single row method at 70 centimeters to 100 centimeters between rows, and 30 centimeters between hills. The double row method can also be used at 80 centimeters between double rows, 50 centimeters within double rows and 30 centimeters between hills.
Planting is done with the aid of a bolo. Suckers are placed in the hole in vertical position.
Weeds can be efficiently controlled by using herbicide such as Diuron or Karmex using 2.5 kilograms to 3.0 kilograms per hectare, sprayed 7 to 10 days after planting. Herbicide-resistant weeds can be controlled by hand pulling. A second application of herbicide may be done 4 to 5 months after planting.
For cogonal areas, a pre-tillage application of glyphosate herbicide (round-up) is very helpful. In areas where mutha (Cyperus Rotundus) is thickly growing the same glyphosate herbicide compound can be applied 7 to 10 days after planting.
In areas infested by Aguingay (Nattboellia exaltata) or itchgrass, the use of Fluazifop-Butyl (e.g. Onecide 15 EC) is recommended.
Pineapple requires sufficient supply of fertilizer for vigorous growth and profitable harvest. One hectare of Queen pineapple consisting of 35,000 plants requires 24.5 bags of urea, ammonium phosphate and muriate of potash.
Potassium makes the fruit sweet; nitrogen gives vigor to the plants; and phosphorous help in the development of the roots.
Urea is best applied at the base of the plant. Ammonium phosphate and muriate of potash can be placed on top of the first three oldest leaves at the base of the plants.
After harvesting, the fruits are hauled to makeshift hut near the pick-up point of traders and near the farms of producers. Manual sorting by size for marketing purposes is done.
Product Sizes and Grades
Pineapple fruits are usually sorted according to eight (8) sizes ranging from the largest or extra-large ("extra/jumbo"), large ("primera") to the smallest or "butterball' probably from the batter's ball in baseball.
After pineapple fruits were sorted according to size and ripeness, those with injury, disease or insect damage are culled. The stalk is trimmed leaving about 1 cm and dipped in 0.2% thiabendazole (fungicide) for 1 minute to prevent diseases.
The extend shelf-life and to minimize development of chilling injury, wax is applied by brushing the fruit surface with an emulsion of mineral oil, fungicide solution and liquid detergent at 1:18:0.05 ratio and air dried completely before being loaded inside the transport vehicle.
Plastic or wooden crates are used for local market. For export, fruits are packed on their sides, single layer, crown-to-crown arrangement in carton boxes with shredded paper as cushion.
Pest and Diseases
|Pests and Diseases||Symptoms/Damage||Recommendations|
|Mealy Bugs||Reddish color of the leaves, wilting, drying of the affected portions of the leaves, discoloring of the leaves, stunted growth, poor root development||Use of mealybug-free planting materials, spraying of 1-1.4 milliliter of Diazinin per liter of water. Eliminate the ants that serve as carrier of the disease.|
|Bud Rot (Thielaviopsis paradoxa)||Rotting of the stems, wilting and eventually dying of the plant.||Avoid causing damage or cuts to the plant which allow the fungus to penetrate into the plant.|
|Fruit Core Rot (Fusarium moniliforme)||Green and small sizes of fruits.
Affected fruits have brown and sunken eyes. If cut, affected parts are blackish in color, with hard texture, watery and rotting.
|Avoid excessive application of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium.
Control mealy bug infestation
|Heart Rot (Phytoptora parasitica p. cinnamomi)||
Yellowing or reddening of the center portion of the leaves.
Wilting of the edge of the leaves.
The base of the leaves become yellowish to faded white, soft and watery with brown coloring at the sides of the affected parts. The affected leaves can be easily detached from the plant.
With foul odor.
Ensure proper drainage.
Elevate the area up to 25 cm. in case of the prevalence of disease. Practice mulching.
Plant during the dry season.
Soak the planting materials for a number of minutes in 8 to 10 grams per liter of Difoltan- water solution or 2.5 grams per liter of aliette-water solution.
|Rats||Damaged plants (fruits, young leaves and core of the plants are missing)||Use of rat poison (e.g. Racumin) which can be mixed with rice and placed in coconut husk or bamboo baiting stations.
Always keep the plantation area clean.
Source: Department of Agriculture, Date accessed 26 March 2014