Monday, May 4, 2009
DA researcher discovers technique to grow pineapple that meets export standards.
Daet, Camarines Norte. A researcher from the Research Outreach Station of the Department of Agriculture (DA) here has discovered a technique for growing export-quality pineapple.
“Pineapple performs well when given the right amount of fertilizer,” and the new technique would give fruit growers fruits “that are in accordance with the standards of the export market,” DA researcher Inocencio Obrero said.
In his study entitled “Performance of Queen Pineapple as Influenced by Varying Amounts of Nitrogen and Potassium Fertilizers,” Obrero found out that nitrogen and potassium applied to the soil improve the height, length and width of the pineapple plant’s leaves.
Attaining a specific plant growth means high-quality fruits that suit the requirements of the export market, he said.
Applying of nitrogen and 200 kilograms of potassium to a hectare of land planted with the Formosa queen variety would prompt the plants to yield the desired fruit quality, Obrero said.
This rate of fertilizer application also highly influences the total soluble solids or sugar (TSS) of the fruit although it has little effect on crown size and sucker production, he said.
“Both nitrogen and potassium fertilizers are vital to increasing the weight and size of queen pineapples. To pass the export requirement, the fruit should be 15 centimeters in length, 10 centimeters in diameter and 14-percent TSS [content],” he said.
This is a welcome breakthrough as farmers, particularly in Camarines Norte—one of the top producers of queen pineapple variety in the country—can now produce fruits of the required length, diameter and sweetness, according to DA regional executive director Jose Dayao.
“This means more income for farmers as fruits produced through this technique command a higher price,” Dayao said.
Obrero’s study, DA regional chief said, was designed to improve the queen pineapple production of Camarines Norte and other parts of the Bicol region.
Pineapple fruits from the province are export products that have penetrated several markets, like the US, Japan and Australia. Through this breakthrough in research, “our queen pineapple would become more competitive in the world market,” Dayao added.
While Camarines Norte is Bicol’s main pineapple producer, it has also emerged as a key source of hand-loomed fabric that uses fiber out of pineapple leaves. The fabric is mainly used as material for the Filipino costume barong Tagalog.
“Indeed, our pineapple of the Formosa queen variety, whose fruits are not only sold in the domestic market but also exported abroad, offers our farmers a good source of income,” Vice Mayor Serafin Raymundo of this provincial capital said. “And now the fibers of its leaves provide an alternative source of livelihood for our handloom weavers.”
With the quality of pineapple leaves enhanced by the technique discovered by Obrero, farmers would be able also to produce more fiber for weaving the piña cloth, he added.
By Business Mirror
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