Farmers keen to shift to MD2 pineapple variety

It can be easily processed and has more shelf life than dominant Mauritius variety

Pineapple farmers in the State are keen to switch at least a part of their holdings to the MD2 from the dominant Mauritius variety as the former fruits can be easily processed and have much longer shelf life.

The MD2 variety will encourage a shift in focus from fresh fruit consumption to processing and exporting, says veteran farmer Baby John at Vazhakkulam, the heart of pineapple country in the State.

Joe Jose Joseph, secretary of the Pineapple Farmers’ Association at Muvattupuzha, said farmers were given a presentation on the MD2 variety recently as part of the pineapple festival at Kalloorkkad. The presentation also dwelt on the advantages of the variety.

Mr. John said there is widespread interest in the MD2 variety. If at least 20% of the crop is shifted, there will be a marked difference in the business.

One of the problems for the farmers is the availability of suckers. T. Maya, scientist in-charge of the Vazhakkulam Pineapple Research Station, said Kerala Agricultural University had been developing tissue culture suckers since 2008. However, the cost was a factor that was keeping farmers away from buying them. A government package would be helpful for the farmers, she said.

Mr. John said apart from the price factor, tissue culture suckers are also too small for being directly planted into the fields. But shifting at least a part of the crop will help. The MD2 variety also helps mechanised processing and there is less waste as the skin and core are thinner, he said.

At the same time, the farmers think that the traditional Mauritius variety should be continued in part so that the fresh fruits business is not hampered in the future. The table variety from Vazhakkulam has a reputation across the country, Mr. John added.

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Printable version | Jul 7, 2020 3:03:01 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/farmers-keen-to-shift-to-md2-pineapple-variety/article30934349.ece

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