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In Nigeria today one of the Agribusiness ventures that is actually gaining more global attention is pineapple farming. Globally there is really an increase in demand for fresh pineapple and its juice, this has actually created a readily market, sales, and profit for the business.

Today Nigeria and Kenya are the highest African-producing countries, other countries are Thailand, Philippines, India, China and Brazil.


Starting pineapple farming in Nigeria


Pineapple farming can be started as backyard farming with a great return. Pineapple farming in Nigeria is really a profitable business venture.


Different species of Pineapple: There are actually many cultivars of pineapple but the 2 commonest ones are – the smooth leaf (cayenne) and the gold (yellow) crown. The newly develop cultivar is the gold crown and it has some better qualities.


The site selection: A nutrient-rich soil is very important for great yield. Pineapples really thrive very well on Sandy-humid soil with a good water retention capacity and with pH that is between 4.5 and 5.5.


The site preparation for planting: Make sure you get rid of weeds and stumps on the farmland, then plough and leave the farmland for about ten to twelve days before making ridges. Actually during this period the land will be exposed to sunlight that will kill the parasites and insects that might affect the pineapple plant. Make sure the site has a good topography in other to avoid waterlogging and to control erosion. It is strongly advice to plant the pineapples on ridges. Don’t plant the pineapples on flat ground.


Pineapple planting: Actually pineapple is best propagated by its suckers because the sucker grows quickly and is very easy to access. Pineapple can also be planted by its seed, slip, or crown. The pineapple seeds are collected from the over ripped pineapple. You can treat the sucker with acetylene or smoke before planting for optimal yield.


The planting season: One of the best time to plant pineapple crown or sucker is between six to eight weeks after harvest. Actually this period moisture dries. This is the period you can treat the sucker with acetylene or smoke. The selection of the pineapple specie to plant is strongly based on the information about which pineapple specie sells best in a particular area.

The Climatic and water requirements: Pineapple really grows well with water during the first 4 month of planting. Pineapple thrives well under mild temperatures.

Plant spacing: An adequate spacing for the pineapple plant is about 30x60cm. Also the distance between rows is up to 2 meters. Make sure the pineapple sucker is at least 20cm high in height before planting.

Weed Control in pineapple: You can apply weedicide immediately after planting in other to delay the weeds from growing. Weeding should be kept on pineapple farm during the first 4 months after planting in other to avoid nutrients competition between the pineapple plant and the weed. Weeding should be done about 3 to 4 times before harvest. Weeding can be done with chemicals (Diuron and Atrazine) or by uprooting by laborers.  

Fertilizer requirement: Pineapple plants needs a high demand for nutrients. You can apply NPK (20:10:10) between two to three months after planting. Then subsequently, apply manure or urea at the 6th and 8th months. On the other hand it does not need applying manure if the plant maintains its dark green in the 8th month.

Irrigation and Drainage: Make sure an irrigation system is available throughout the whole period. Irrigation is done in the morning or in the evening 2 times during the dry season. For water management, Deep Irrigation System Technology can be used. It is also used for liquid nutrients application.

Pests and diseases in pineapple: Some of the common pineapple pests and diseases are symphylids, mealy bug, wilt, phytophthora, black spot, and root rottening. These pests can be controlled by applying insecticide on the field when their effects are noticed. Root rottening can be controlled by proper soil drainage.

Maturity period: Actually the maturity period differs for each pineapple mode of propagation. The shortest maturity time is about 9 months which is for sucker propagated pineapple plant. Crown and seed pineapple propagated mode are longer. It is at this stage pineapple plants are artificially induced.

Artificial Inducement is a process of making a mature plant change from the vegetative stage to the reproductive stage of growth. An act of forcing a plant to start producing flower. It is done by an expert to prevent excessive fruiting and to enable fruit production during the off-season.

Harvesting: The harvest time for sucker propagated pineapple plant takes place between thirteen to fourteen months while for crown propagated plant takes up to nineteen to twenty months.

Marketability: Before starting this venture, market and sales research need to be done. On the other hand there is no cause for aches as there are markets (Like Lagos Mile 12 market), fruit companies, and groceries that are readily available to buy pineapple at large scale. All you need is just to find one.

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