A humid tropical fruit, Pineapple (Ananas comosus), is a native fruit of South America which was brought to the rest of world by the Spanish and Portuguese explorers. The origin of the fruit can be traced to Paraguay and Brazil located in the Amazon basin.
Pineapple contributes to more than 20% of the world’s production of tropical fruits. The first place to commercially cultivate pineapple was Hawaii. Being a nutritious fruit with a good amount of Vitamin C, the fruit finds a variety of culinary uses, be it in preserved, fresh, or cooked form.
The annual global production of pineapple is approximately 24.8 million tons. Based on the data gathered on pineapple production by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, the countries that have the highest production of pineapples in the world in 2018 have been listed as follows.
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Tenth on the list is the South American country of Colombia. With a pineapple production of approximately 643.04 thousand metric tonnes, it is one of the leading pineapple producing countries in the world. The productivity of pineapples is high in parts of Colombia with a production of nearly 130 tonnes per hectare, and the production of Colombian pineapples has also been increasing.
The production of pineapples in Mexico is about 771.94 thousand metric tonnes. Mexico also happens to be the sixth largest exporter of pineapples, contributing 2.1% ($42.6 million) to the total pineapple exports in 2016.
With a pineapple production of approximately 1386.36 thousand metric tonnes, pineapple is the third most important fruit in the mainland of China, the first two being banana and mango. Based on the data, the cultivation area range is from 52,000 hectares to 65,000 hectares. The main pineapple cultivation areas in China include the provinces of Hainan, Guangxi, Yunnan, and Guangdong, with nearly 50% to 60% of the produce coming from the Guangdong province. Approximately 80% of the pineapple produce in China goes to the domestic markets as fresh fruit.
Nigeria is the seventh largest pineapple producer in the world and the largest pineapple producer in Africa, with South Africa being the second largest producer in Africa. The production of pineapples in Nigeria is approximately 1420.00 thousand metric tonnes. The production of pineapples in Nigeria started in 1961 and has increased significantly over the decades.
Number six on the list, India produces approximately 1571.00 thousand metric tonnes of pineapples. The states of India where pineapple is grown include Assam, Tripura, Manipur, Meghalaya, West Bengal, Karnataka, Kerala, and Goa. States, where pineapple is grown in small scale, including Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Orissa, and Bihar. India also exports pineapple products such as canned slices, tidbits, juice and so on. Indian pineapple is exported to countries such as Spain, UK, Nepal, and UAE.
Indonesia has an annual pineapple production of approximately 1837.16 thousand metric tonnes. There has been a steady increase in the production of pineapples in Indonesia in the past few years. The market for pineapples has also been growing in the recent years. Pineapple has been one of the most valuable tropical fruits in Indonesia, followed by mango and banana.
The annual production of pineapples in Thailand has been approximately 2209.35 thousand metric tonnes. The total pineapple production area in Thailand is nearly 100,000 hectares and is spread across thirteen provinces. Smallholders account for nearly 95% of all the producers. Some 80% of the produce is processed while the remaining produce finds its way to the markets as fresh fruit. Most pineapple farms in Thailand are located along the West and the East Coasts of the Gulf of Thailand.
With an annual production of approximately 2458.42 tonnes, Philippines is another leading producer of pineapples. It also happens to be the third largest exporter of pineapples, contributing an 11.4% ($228.4 million) to the total pineapple exports. It may also be noted that the Philippines has been a fast-growing exporter in recent years, with its exports going up by 125.3% from 2012 to 2016.
The second largest producer in the world, Brazil is also the country where pineapples were considered to have originated. The annual production of pineapples is approximately 2483.83 thousand metric tonnes. The climate of Northern Brazil is considered to be more suitable for the cultivation of pineapples. Nevertheless, pineapples are grown all across the country. The high temperatures in Brazil are suitable for the production of sweeter pineapples which are more favoured in the world market.
1. Costa Rica
The largest producer of pineapples in the world, Costa Rica has an annual production of 26853.12 thousand metric tonnes. The tropical climate in Costa Rica is highly suited for the growth of pineapples. Nearly 111,200 acres of the land has been covered by pineapple cultivation. Costa Rica also happens to be the largest exporter of pineapples in the world, accounting for 45.1% ($905.3 million) of the total pineapple exports. The production has significantly increased over the past few years. However, there has been a serious environmental impact of the agriculture.
A nutritious fruit, pineapple is a good source of vitamins A, B and C, and various minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron, and potassium. Due to its pleasant taste, it is a highly favored fruit all over the world. There are a number of varieties of pineapple such as Kew, Queen, Mauritius, Charlotte and so on.
The pineapple plant, as mentioned before, requires humid tropical temperatures to grow. It can grow in almost any type of free-draining soil but the soil of pH range 5.5 to 6.0 is supposed to be the optimum soil. The pineapple fruit is commercially very important and has a good demand in the markets.