Pineapples have exceptional juiciness and a vibrant tropical flavor that balances the tastes of sweet and tart. They are second only to bananas as America’s favorite tropical fruit. Although the season for pineapple runs from March through June, they are available year-round in local markets.
Pineapples are a composite of many flowers whose individual fruitlets fuse together around a central core. Each fruitlet can be identified by an “eye,” the rough spiny marking on the pineapple’s surface. Pineapples have a wide cylindrical shape, a scaly green, brown or yellow skin and a regal crown of spiny, blue-green leaves and fibrous yellow flesh. The area closer to the base of the fruit has more sugar content and therefore a sweeter taste and more tender texture.
Pineapple is one of the commercially important fruits of the tropical world.
Thailand is the largest producer of pineapple in the world. India ranks fifth with a share of 8.2 % of the world production of pineapples. The total area under pineapple cultivation in India is 0.9 million hectares with a production of 1.3 million tonnes. Area under pineapple has increased by over 57 per cent during the course of the last decade while production has increased by 30 per cent from 1.0 million tones in 1994 to 1.3 million tones in 2004 (F AO database, 2004). The major pineapple producing states in India are, West Bengal (279,500 tonnes), Assam (216,100 tonnes), Kerala (84,600 tonnes), Meghalaya (81,700 tonnes) and Kamataka (81,193 tonnes) (Anon, 2002). Bulk of the pineapple produced in the country is consumed in fresh fOlm and less than 10 per cent is used for processing as against 95 per cent in the plincipal producing countries. ‘Kew’ and ‘Mauritius’ are the two main varieties of pineapple grown in India. Kew is a late maturing variety and is the leading commercial variety in India. It is particularly valued for its canning quality. Mauritius is grown exclusively for table purpose in Kerala, Karnataka and some parts of Meghalaya (Chadda et ai, 1998).
Bidhannagar zone of Siliguri is the biggest Pineapple developing region in North Bengal and prevalent for its regular products of Pineapples.
Pineapples are largely cultivated in Bidhannagar, 45 kilometres from Siliguri.
The district is by itself famous for pineapple cultivation.
Pineapple growers of Bidhannagar export 18 percent of their production to Nepal and 10 percent to Bhutan.
Bidhannagar pineapples are in great demand across the country, including in neighbouring countries like Nepal and Bhutan.
Nearly a million people are dependent on pineapple trade in the state.
In India, other than Bidhannagar, pineapples are cultivated in Karnataka and Meghalaya. But Bidhannagar is famous for the taste and flavour of pineapples.
Bhidannagar is the world’s fourth largest pineapple producing region.
Recently, the district’s government has decided to construct an export zone to boost up the trade with foreign countries. Around 1,50,000 people are directly dependent on the cultivation of pineapple for their livelihood.