Pinya (Ananas comosus)
The world consumption of canned and fresh pineapple has been increasing steadily. A strong research effort is necessary to maintain the lead role in production.
The pineapple is a perennial herb that rows from 50-150cm tall. The leaf is sword-shaped, 1 m or longer, 5-8 cm wide, fleshy, fibrous, grooved on the upper surface, and arranged around the main axis at the base. The flower is reddish-purple. The fruit is round, about 20 cm long and 14 cm in diameter, weighing 1-2.5 kg. Its flesh is pale to golden yellow, and usually seedless.
Several varieties of pineapple exist. The most popularly grown are ‘Cayenne’, ‘Red Spanish’, and Queen.
Cayenne , the leaf measures 100 cm x 6.5 cm, with reddish mottling above and silver grey on the lower portion. The margin has spines only at the base and at the top. The fruit is round weighing about 2.5 kg. Its flesh is pale yellow to yellow.
Queen, this variety is mainly grown for the fresh fruit trade, All parts are smaller than the Cayenne group. The leaf is spiny. The fruit weight from 0.9-1.3 kg. The flesh is deep golden yellow.
Red Spanish, the leaf is long and spiny. It contains strong fibers which are used for making cloth. The fruit weighs from 0.9-1.8 kg. The flesh is pale yellow.
Pineapple / pinya is usually eaten fresh. The fruit may also be canned as slices, spirals, chunks, spears , tidbits, and cubes. In Thailand, it is being canned with other fruits like rambutan.
After peeling , the flesh adhering to the shell may be made into pineapple /pinya crush or juice. The core and other pieces of flesh may also be crushed to turn into juice.
The fruits may also be made into jam and crystallized or candied. The by-products o canning may be used as cattle feed or to produce pineapple / pinya wine or vinegar.
Organice acids such as cirtic, malic, and ascorbic may be obtained from the fruit and the plant. Fiber form the leaves may be woven into a fine pina cloth. Pineapple / pinya , meat tenderizer may be obtained from the stem and fruit.
Soil and Climatic requirements
Grow pineapple in areas with temperatures between 23-32 degrees Celsius. It does not tolerate frost and the fruit is sensititve to sunburn. It requires an annual rainfall of 1000-1500 mm. Grow palnts on well-drained and sandy loam soil with high oranic content and pH of 4.5 – 6.5. Fruits for canning must be grown at an elevation of 1800 m. At higher elevations, fruits become too acidic.
Propagation. Use slips (shoots rowing on the stem below the fruit) to propagate the fruit. Crowns and suckers may also be used as propagation materials.
Planting. Plant in double rows with a sufficiently wide path between the double rows to allow for field operations.
Example: smooth cayenne
In smallholdings: use space of (100+50) cm x 30 cm or 4.4 plants per m square.
In estates: Use space of (85+50) cm x 25 cm or six plants per m square.
Plants by hand along planting lines marked with the planting positions. Use a planting sticl to make a hole. Place the shoot in the hole. Firm the soil around the shoot wit the feet.
Irrigation. Provide a steady moisture supply to the shallow root zone. Growth stagnates when moisture is lacking and excessive wetness invites foot rot.
Fertilization. Apply nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium fertilizers. Nitrogen is important to achieve vigorous plant growth but not when flower induction is required because vigorous growth reduce flowering response. Phosphorous is needed for the first few months of growth while potassium is needed for fruit development. Remove weeds before applying fertilizer.
Flower induction. Induce flowering using calcium carbide or etephon. Dissolve 2 kg carbide in a kerosene can of water. Pour 30 ml of the solution to the growing point of 12 months old plants. Mix 1 ml of ethephon per liter of water. Pour to the growing point of the plant anytime of the day.
Pests and diseases. Control diseases through proper sanitation. The common disease of pineapple / pinya are heart rot (Philippines, fruit collapse (Malaysia) and marbling (Thailand). Other disease of pineapple are leathery pocket, fruitlet core rot, interfruitlet corking, soft rot and yeasty rot.
The mealy bug is the most serious insect pest. Severely infested plants become stunted and produce small fruits. Leaves become yellowish-red to bring red at the lef tips. Leaves show signs of wilting. Control ants to control mealy bugs. Spray or dipthe planting material in diazinon or malathion to control the wilt.
For canning, harvest fruits when they are one-sixth ripe for smooth cayenne. The fraction refers to the part of the fruit that changes color.
For fresh fruits, harvest when they are half-ripe. Pick the fruit by hand, leaving the crown and a portion of the peduncle intact. The bulk fo the fruit is picked in the firs round, a second and a third harvest at weekly intervals may be needed to bring in the remaining fruits.
Source: PROSEA leaflet no. 4