Unseasonal cultivation of pineapple, made possible by horticulture scientists in Tripura, is providing more revenue to farmers in the State.
“We used ethyl sodium carbonate chemicals for bearing fruit in winter which is not its proper season and we have been successful,” Sujit Saha, a junior scientist of the Horticulture department, said.
The department carried out experiments on 30 hectare at a cost of Rs. 6 lakh and was successful, he said.
Labourer Firoz Mia in West Tripura cultivated pineapples on one hectare of fallow land encouraged by the Horticulture Department last year and now 5,000 pineapples have ripened in December which means an earning of about Rs. 1,50,000.
“Initially I was not interested in cultivation of pineapples, but the officers of the Horticulture Department gave me a lot of subsidies in buying seedlings and also provided technical assistance for using chemicals for untimely bearing of fruit. I have been hugely benefited,” Mr. Mia said.
Tripura is now a State with surplus production of horticulture crops like mango, jackfruit, papaya, banana and litchi.
A Horticulture and Soil Conservation Department source said the State has a demand of about 2,14,000 tonne for this kind of produce, but the actual production has gone to over five lakh tonne.
Generally two types of pineapple are grown in Tripura — Queen variety and Kelenga variety.
Of these the popular one is the Queen variety of which production was 40,000 tonnes this year, while the Kelenga variety produced an estimated at 66,406 tonne.
The increased production of pineapple-based food products are, therefore, finding markets outside the State.
Manager of Piyush Agro Tech, P. S. Chauhan said his company received orders from an Italian company for sending a consignment of 1,02,000 cans of sliced pineapples after its experts ascertained the packaging process.
“Tripura pineapples, especially of the queen variety are now regularly going abroad. Canned pineapple slices are being sent to European countries,” Dipen Chowdhury, the in-charge of the processing unit of Piyush Agro Tech said.
The North East Regional Agricultural Marketing Corporation (NERAMAC), the central agricultural marketing agency and the Tripura Small Industries Corporation have come forward with mini-fruit processing units.