THE pineapple season in Tripura ranges from the month of June to December with July-August as the peak months. The fruits are harvested when eyes turn yellow. In addition to its demand for table purposes, the product range includes include pineapple slices, juice concentrates and pulp.
The state Government, along with institutions like the National Horticulture Board and the National Centre for Cold Chain Development are trying to establish the requisite infrastructure to increase the shelf-life and to make pineapple juice and slices available even during off-season.
Canning continues to be the most popular method for it also allows the ‘economy of scope’ by finding value for the parts that are not utilised in the canning process – these include the skin, the core, and the ends which now become ingredients for alcohol, vinegar and food for livestock – thereby making it the one of those fruits of which there is a literal ‘end- to- end’ utilisation.
In his well-researched paper on the subject PC Nunfela Darlong has mentioned that the intervention of the Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture, (MIDH) and the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY), has given a boost to TQP, both in terms of expansion of area, as well as productivity. This became possible with the introduction of better cultivars, besides on-farm and post-harvest technologies.
The Department of North East Region (DoNER), too, has lent its support to the marketing efforts of Agriculture and Processed Foods Export Development Agency (APEDA). DoNER ministry has facilitated the process of GI tagging and authorised about 800 farmers in the region to get the advantage of exclusive claims of a specific geographical origin and qualities under Intellectual Property Rights across the globe. The National Institute of Design has designed unique tags and logo for boxes to make the produce more attractive, while maintaining the quality of queen pineapples.
TQP is thus making a transition from being a commodity grown in community lands – primarily for consumption within the vicinity of hamlets – to commercial scale pineapple plantations of which there are over a hundred now. Experiments on highdensity planting, staggered planting and use of flower inducing hormones are being conducted to increase the productivity of pineapples at the Horticultural Research Centre at Nagicherra in West Tripura.
The possibility of advancing the availability of pineapples by about two months before the normal season, will increase the market span, thereby adding to the incomes of the farmers, besides engaging the workers throughout the year, thus creating employment opportunity. In sum, when institutions, markets, infrastructure, extension services and the willingness of farmers to adopt new measures all go hand in hand, there is great scope for the overall development of the sector, as well as of the farmers and workers engaged in the entire value chain .Thank you TQP for playing your part in the economic transformation of Tripura!