Sri Lanka produces the best fruits– LIRNEasia: Pineapples, a viable export …

Sri Lanka produces the best fruits– LIRNEasia:

Pineapples, a viable export production

Sri Lankas’ pineapples are among the best in the world and has a high
commercial value although it is not supported and promoted adequately in
the country, a research conducted by LIRNEasia revealed.

According to experts Sri Lanka produces some of the finest pineapples
in the world which has a huge potential for a major export market. Sri
Lankan pineapples are in demand as they are nutritious and delicious.

LIRNEasia Research Manager, Nilusha Kapugama said that pineapple
cultivation in Sri Lanka is neglected although it is a commercially
viable crop with enormous potential for an export market.

Sri Lanka is the 37th among pineapple producing countries. Brazil,
Thailand, Philippines, Costa Rica and China are the top five pineapple
producing countries. Pineapples in Sri Lanka are grown on 4,750 hectares
producing around 35,000 mt/ year as an intercrop in the coconut
triangle.

Agriculture Minister Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena said that seeds and
plant material are provided to farmers under a program launched to
increase pineapple cultivation in the country.

“Improved seed varieties have been identified at the Research station
in Homagama which will provide the material to farmers”, the Minister
said.

Pineapple cultivation in the country is primarily done by the private
sector for the export of fruits, jam and juices.

“Pineapple production has increased steadily over the years and our
main markets are USA, Maldives, Middle East and Europe”, Agriculture
Ministry sources said.

Around 90 percent of pineapples are cultivated in the Gampaha and
Kurunegala districts providing a livelihood to a large number of people.
Export of fruits and vegetables still account for less than one percent
of the total exports in the country.

Pineapples botanically known as Ananas Comosus originate from South
America and it is native to South Brazil and Paraguay. The popular
varieties are Smooth Cayenne (Sarawak or Kew), Queen, Red Spanish and
Mauritius.

The common variety in Sri Lanka is ‘Mauritius’ which is a ‘Queen’
type with spiny leaves, yellow-kernel and excellent flavour. Pineapples
are enjoyed as a fresh fruit by locals and foreigners.

Kapugama said that Sri Lanka should promote high density planting and
intensive management to boost pineapple cultivation in the country.

Pineapple cultivators in Sri Lanka face many challenges due to the
scarcity of land, healthy suckers and the absence of high yielding
cultivation methods. The high cost of fertiliser is a major factor that
affects the cost of production.

Kapugama said that due to the problems faced by pineapple cultivators
exporters and pineapple-based product manufacturers are adversely
affected. “There should be a proper mechanism to obtain information on
pineapple sucker providers based on their reputation”, Kapugama said.

She said that it is essential to promote good practices in pineapple
cultivation and added that a market should be created for the organic
cultivation of pineapple.

Leave a Reply