Principal Scientist and Head, KVK Dimapur
Organic farming is a system which avoids or largely excludes the use of synthetic inputs (such as fertilizers, pesticides, hormones, feed additives etc) and to the maximum extent feasible rely upon crop rotations, crop residues, animal manures, off-farm organic waste, mineral grade rock additives and biological system of nutrient mobilization and plant protection” (USDA). FAO suggested that “Organic agriculture is a unique production management system which promotes and enhances agro-ecosystem health, including biodiversity, biological cycles and soil biological activity, and this is accomplished by using on-farm agronomic, biological and mechanical methods in exclusion of all synthetic off-farm inputs.
Pineapple is a crop of the humid and sub-humid tropics and originated in Paraguay (Brazil) and introduced in India in 1548. It is a monocotyledonous fruit exhibiting vegetative parthenocarpy and self incompatibility.
Status of pineapple in North East Region
Pineapple (Ananas comosus) is one of the important fruit crops of North East India occupying a total area of 78590 ha with a production of 963290 MT, and average productivity of 12.26 Mt/ha. Pineapple is cultivated all over northeast due to favorable agro-climate conditions. The major area is covered in Assam, Manipur and Meghalaya. But the highest productivity was observed in West Bengal i.e. 30.01 MT/ha which is 179% higher than the national average (16.84 MT/ha). Assam is the highest pineapple producers followed by Tripura and Meghalaya in North East India but West Bengal is the contributing 21.5% (highest) share with highest productivity 30.01MT/ha.
The pineapple produced in Assam, Manipur and Tripura is of high quality and accepted in National and international market. The major fertilizer consuming states in eastern zone are Bihar, West Bengal, Odisha, Assam and Jharkhand accounting for 14% of total fertilizer nutrient consumption. The share of other states falling in Zone are Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura and Sikkim, accounts merely 0.1% total consumption of the country. There is wide variation in per hectare fertilizer consumption in the North East, which varies from 1.5 kg/ha to 3.2 kg/ha. The pineapple produced in Nagaland, is Organic by Default” as Nagaland is one of the lowest consumer of chemical fertilizers in the country @1.5 kg/ha which is negligible by any standard. Sikkim is already declared as organic states so application of fertilisers and pesticides are already banned. The Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Mizoram are also not applying much chemical fertilizers so these pineapple fruits can also be treated as organic default.
The North East produces the world’s best quality fruits due to favourable agro-climatic conditions but if compared with in North East Region, Nagaland is producing world’s finest quality pineapple. The fruits weighing nearly 1.2-1.7 kg with the TSS of 14-180 brix and acidity 0.9 to1.2% and total sugar 0.7 to 1.75 % depending on the stage of maturity and season.
Organic Pineapple as fresh fruit
- Harvesting – Harvesting at right stage is very important, which will allow it to be at its peak condition when it reaches the consumer. Fruit should be at right maturity that allows it to develop an acceptable flavor or appearance, optimum size or grade required by the market.
Codex standard of pineapple
2. Packaging – packaging includes
– Pre-cooling- after harvest the heat of fruits should be removed either by passing cool air or sprinkling cold water.
– Grading- depending on size the pineapples are graded in to different class.
– Application of fungicides to avoid any fungal infection during transport and post storage.
– Packaging in boxes
Packaging- Packaging is normally done in corrugated or solid fibre board cartons. The container shall comprise of the inter-locking type preferably having a water-proof coating to prevent damage due to high humidity in cold stores.
Corrugated or solid fibre board cartons can accommodate nearly 12 fruit and cost comes Rs 60-70/box. The studies showed that brushing loss and weight loss is higher in bamboo and wooden boxes.
Packaging system for distant market
The loading and transportation is very important operation for distant and export market. If possible the CFB should be transported in refrigerated van to minimize the post harvest loss. If refrigerated van not possible then transport at night time to reduce the rate of respiration and other physiological processes. Care should be taken while loading and transporting the pineapples as this highly perishable in nature.
Organic pineapple based Products as Enterprises
• The main products are canned slices, tit bits, Juice (single strength or concentrated juice), dehydrated and/or sugared, canned in slices or bits, Jam
• Among the newer developments are dried chips, cocktail-type drinks, dried powdered, isotonic mixtures and wine
The details of products:
• Pineapple Juice
• Pineapple Nectar
• Pineapple Squash and Syrup
• Canned Pineapple slices/Rings
• Pineapple Jam
• Pineapple Jelly
• Pineapple Sauce
• Pineapple Marmalades
• Pineapple Preserve and candy
• Pineapple Dehydrated Osmo Rings
• Dried pineapple
• Pineapple Vinegar
• Pineapple Fillings
• Fizzy drinks from pineapple
• Pineapple Raita
• Pineapple Ice-cream
• Honey from Pineapple