In pineapple farming, pineapple growers do not only make money from the sales of pineapple fruits but also sell suckers to other intending growers. Hence, pineapple is the current money spinner as far as farming enterprise is concerned today.
First, you need to understand that Pineapple (Ananas comosus) thrive well on a well drained sandy soil because of the nature of its roots.
The roots are extremely fragile and can only grow in a loose and well aerated soil with relatively good water retention. Hence, silty soils and clayey soils are not recommended for growing pineapples.
A sandy soil with a PH between 4.5 and 5.5 is most appropriate for growing pineapples.
Meanwhile, the two most economically viable pineapple species suitable for commercial farming are; the smooth cayenne and the Golden Yellow also know as Pure Gold pineapple.
Pineapple farming is one very sure money making farming enterprise that is yet to gain desired attention of most farmers in Nigeria and other developing countries at large.
It is a fruit with a lot of economic importance because of the fact that aside from it being eaten raw, to make salads and fruit cocktail, it is also processed into fruit juice, Jam, Wine etc. thereby creating creating a huge market value for pineapple fruits.
Therefore, If you are thinking of a profitable farming business to start in the country, then think no more. Pineapple farming which can also be reffered to as pineapple growing or growing pineapple is the ideal enterprise to invest on.
In the past, so many people have been discouraged about pineapple farming due to its longer time of fruiting (2years) and its inability to bear fruit, ripe, harvest and sell the whole farm at the same time.
However, recent discoveries from research had alleviated these challenges. Pineapple can now be planted to bear fruit, ripe, harvest and sold at the same time within a period of 14 months.
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However, pineapple farming is not a quick money making farm enterprise as compared to annual crops such as maize, cow-pea, cucumber etc but it is a sure way of making sustainable income over time after it is initially established. If properly monitored and taken serious, it is a business that offers a year round perceptual stable financial life.
Pineapple Farming Planting Methods
Before planting, the land should be well prepared at the outset because the pineapple is shallow-rooted and easily damaged by post-planting cultivation. Fumigation of the soil contributes to high quality and high yields.
Planting is normally staggered all the year round to guarantee a regular supply of fruits to the market.
On mineral soils and large estates, planting is semi-mechanized with a worker sitting at the back of a tractor and feeding seedlings into slots of a slow rotating disc that makes the hole, pushing the seedlings in and tamping the earth around the seedlings at the same time.
On peat, it is done manually, usually conducted by a team of two workers. Planting rows are first marked out, and holes are made with a pointed stick as one worker moves along the line. The other worker pushes the sucker into the hole, usually at a depth of 10-15 cm.
The soil around the plant is then tamped by the planter’s feet. The recommended and most popular planting pattern is the double-row bed system of ‘1-2-3′ i.e. 30 cm x 60 cm x 90 cm, giving a plant density of 44,400 plants per ha.
Each bed consists of two rows of plants spaced at 30 cm between plants within rows and 60 cm between rows. The beds are spaced 90 cm apart. Traditionally, plants are spaced 30 cm apart.
Set crowns about 5 cm deep; suckers and slips 7.5 to 10 cm deep. Close spacing gives highest total crop weight- e.g. 43,200 plants/ha = 69.12 tons.
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However, various trials have shown that overcrowding has a negative effect, reducing fruit size and elongating the form undesirably, and it reduces the number of slips and suckers per plant.
Density trials with ‘P.R. 1-67’ in Puerto Rico demonstrated that 51,265/ha yielded 86 tons/ha in the main crop and 45.43 tons/ha in the ratoon crop, but only one slip per plant for replanting.
Excessively wide spacing tends to induce multiple crowns in ‘Smooth Cayenne’ in Hawaii and in ‘Red Spanish’ in Puerto Rico. Some plantings are mulched with bagasse. In large operations, asphalt-treated paper, or black plastic mulch is regarded as essential.
A ground cover of black plastic works very well for pineapples, both as protection from weeds and for the extra heat it seems to absorb. It also helps to conserve moisture.
It retains warmth in cool seasons, reduces loss of soil moisture, and can be laid by machines during the sterilization and pre-fertilization procedures.
Mulch necessitates removal of basal leaves of crowns, slips and suckers and the use of a tool to punch a hole at the pre-marked planting site for the insertion of each plantlet. The mulch is usually rolled onto rounded beds 1 m wide.
The pineapple (Ananas comosus) is a member of the Bromeliaceae family and subfamily Bromelioideae. It is from the domain Eukarya because it has a center nucleus and bound organelles which makes it similar to species like the avocado, ostrich, and others.
Through photosynthesis it creates its own food making it an autotrophic plant member of the Plantae. It is part of the Magnioliophyta because its seed develop in the plant’s ovary and grows there to become a fruit.
They have one cotyledon; their petals grow in multiples of three and have fibrous roots which place them in the class Liliopsida. Pineapples grow in sunny and dry regions so that’s why they are form the order Poales.