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Abstract

Pineapple is second only to citrus in the quantum of fresh fruit produced in Trinidad and Tobago. In 1994, the total land area in Trinidad under pineapple production was approximately 60 hectares. In Tableland, south Trinidad, approximately 250 hectares were cultivated in the year 2000. The rapid expansion in land clearing for increased pineapple cultivation continued and in 2004, approximately 470 hectares in Tableland are cultivated with pineapple. This lucrative crop, if sold at the present retail price of TT$2.25 per kilogram, can contribute about TT$19 million to the economy per annum. (TT$6.25 = US$1.00). The main production areas are established on heavy clays on sloping lands that are not ideally suited for pineapple growing. There is indiscriminate land clearing with no reference to slopes, soil or soil movement. Proper land preparation on the slopes is difficult, with accompanying problems of heavy run-off, water logging problems, land slippage, and erosion. The slow growing nature of the plant, the wide spacing used and reliance on persistent herbicides, applied at high rates, exposes the soil to the elements with disastrous consequences. As it exists, the resources are being degraded through non-sustainable practices. Fruit quality is less than optimum due to improper fertilizer usage and poor harvest and post harvest practices. Annual gluts are experienced and market possibilities through processed products have not been explored. This paper outlines strategies being undertaken by various institutions to promote pineapple production in a sustainable manner, such that all stakeholders in the commodity chain can continue to earn a livelihood in the medium and long term.

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