Pineapple varieties

  1. Introduction

Pineapple is a tropical and sub-tropical fruit grown in many countries in Africa. It is a native of Southern Brazil and Paraguay area where wild relatives occur in abundance. In Rwanda, pineapple is grown in all the regions, Northern Province is the largest pineapple producer followed by Southern, Eastern and the least is Western. It is a tradable crop and generates reasonable income.

The fruit is rich in vitamin A and C and minerals like P, Ca, Mg, K and Fe. The fruit as well as the other plant parts like stem contain a proteolytic enzyme, bromelin, which helps the digestion process. This is used for tenderizing meat and in the leather tanning process. The fruit contains fairly good amount of fibres, which help in the bowel movement, including pineapple in the daily diet eliminate indigestion problems.

Pineapple is fairly drought resistant but for high yields a well distributed annual rainfall of at least 1000mm is required. A regular supply of soil moisture is essential. Altitude has an important effect on flavor of fruit. The optimum altitude for pineapple culture is up to 1100m above sea level. Frost-free area should be selected for cultivation since plants are highly susceptible to frost.

The optimum temperature is between 22-23oC. Leaf growth is the best at 32oC and root growth at 290C, their growth completely ceasing below 20oC and above 36oC. Exposure to direct strong sunlight results in sunburn of fruits leading to partial drying, dessication, less juice content and cracking of fruits. Optimum precipitation for commercial pineapple cultivation ranges from 1000-1500 mm/year. Water logging is very harmful to growth of pineapple, being a shallow rooted plant.

Pineapple grows well on a wide range of soils. However, the best soil can be a well drained, and loam with a good content of organic matter, friable for a depth of at least 60 cm and with a pH range of 4.5-6.0.

  1. Smooth Cayenne:
    •  It is the variety which is most suited to commercial production,
    • It is a high producer, has good flavour, carries a longer shelf life and has an ideal shape for mechanical processing.
    • The Smooth Cayenne is, however, highly susceptible to Mealy Bug and nematode attacks.

  1. Red Spanish Pineapple:
  • It weighs up to 1 to 2 kgs.
  • It is attractive for export market.
  •  It is pale yellow in color with a soothing fragrance and square shaped, hard spiky leaves.

  1. Queen Pineapple
  • Queen pineapples are less sweet,
  • They have a rich yellow flesh, crisp texture, mild flavor,
  •  It weighs up to 1.5 kg.