In Tripura, pineapple is one of the major fruit crop in terms of area and production. Pineapple is prominently grown in North Tripura and West Tripura district in large scale therefore production is more in these two districts of Tripura.
In Tripura, two varieties of Pineapple are available one, Queen another Kew. As far as size, yield and juice content, Kew is best however for table purpose, queen is good.
Queen variety is popular in West Tripura district in particular area of Sonamura Sub-division under West Tripura district. Kew is prominently the crop of the people of North district of Tripura as it is grown in large scale in the area like; Betcherra, Nalkata, Darchawii and Kailashahar.
According to growers, 37500 numbers of pineapple suckers could be planted in a hectare of land. Production usually starts after two and half year of planting however, when the plantation reaches three years age then full production is expected.
However, there are also recurring cost in terms of weeding and fruit harvesting which continues in every season and consumes huge labor wages to the growers. Of course, fertilization is another aspect people do not concerned about as because they do not go for any fertilization activities either organic or inorganic fertilizer. Thus Pineapple produced in Tripura could be termed as organic due such intrinsic factors.
One hectare of pineapple plantation yields approximates 27000 numbers pineapple fruits which worth one lakh thirty five thousands at the rate of rupees five in average per fruits in Indian currency. When there is procurement by the NERAMAC and Dabur Company, growers can take home good profit from their plantation but if there is not then it bring loss to the farmers.
As per the statistics available online, Pineapple production in Tripura is around 45000 metric tons, out of which Kew is contributing lion shares in production followed by the Queen variety.
In Tripura, Pineapple fruit crop is facing the following challenge which affects the over all fruit sectors of the state:-
1. Marketing problems,
2. No fruit processing units
3. No subsidiary sector
4. Pressure of Rubber plantation,
What ever may be the scale of production unless the products produced are facilitated to the consumer either in the fresh or processed forms then there would be problems of transformation of products into the productive purpose. In Tripura and elsewhere, there are huge demands for pineapple products that could either be in fresh or processed form. But, this huge demand is yet to be tapped.
In Tripura, marketing problem is manly due to lack of proper utilization of the resource by the local fruit processing plant the NERAMAC. According to the growers of Nalkata area, NERAMAC plant is closed so no procurement by the plant.
Until few years ago Dabur Company used to procure pineapple fruits from the Tripura particularly from north districts has stopped the interest to procure the products from the area. This in frequent procurement by the Dabur Company has created further marketing bottlenecks of the pineapple growers of the Tripura particularly the people of north district as told by the growers of Nalkata area on 01.12.2011.
In Tripura, there are two seasons as far as production of pineapple is concerned. The main season is June to July where there is maximum production and secondary season or off season is during the month from October to December. Production during the off season is comparatively less compared to main season.
Due to marketing constraints many growers of Betcherra area have converted their pineapple plantation into rubber plantation according to the growers. However, the growers who not wished to be named has also informed that pineapple still plays important role in their financial reliance as far as the Nalkata area is concerned.
During main season, pineapple fruits piles up in the roadside for marketing by the retailers for fresh consumption but fresh consumption hardly meets the total production available in the season so, in many cases pineapple fruits are sold in cheaper rates or rots which ultimately results in loss to the growers.
The need of the hour is to create a facility to utilize the resources available in the state and fruit processing plants should come up in the state and young people should be encouraged to set up agro-based venture for tapping these untapped resources. The existing fruit processing plant that is the NERAMAC plants should be revived and made fully functional for availing these precious resources and creating value added fruit products.