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The pineapple is a tropical and subtropical fruit grown in many countries in Africa. It is a tradable crop and generates reasonable income. It is used as a fruit as well as for producing juice. It is also used for making jam. In addition it contains a protein digesting enzyme bromelain. Therefore it can be used as a meat tenderizer. Leaves are used for making ropes and coarse cloth. Waste products from the juice canning industry are used as animal feed. Ecological requirements Pineapple is fairly drought resistant but for high yields a well distributed annual rainfall of at least 1000mm is required. A regular supply of soil moisture is essential.

Types (Cultivars) Cultivars:

Smooth Cayenne is by far the most important pineapple cultivar throughout the tropics, the leaves are almost spineless except at the apices. Queen is still grown in some areas. This cultivar produces smaller but sweeter fruits than smooth cayenne, but the leaves are spiny and difficult to work with. The Red Spanish is a semi spineless cultivar grown mainly in West Africa and South Africa. Its fruits are intermediate between those of smooth cayenne and queen but are of better quality than those of smooth cayenne. It has some resistance to mealybug wilt disease.

Management Practices
Propagation

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Tissue culture can also be used. The propagules are extremely resistant to desiccation and root readily when planted in the nursery or in the field. By planting various types of propagules the period of harvest can be extended since offshoots (suckers) fruit in about 17 months, slips in 20 months and crowns in 22-24 months.

Planting takes place at the start of the rainy season or it can start any time in the irrigated areas. The propagule stem should be allowed to air dry for one week prior to planting so that the callus layer is formed over the damaged tissue thereby making them resistant to disease infection after planting. Scaly leaves should be removed from the lower portion of the propagule stem to expose the primodia (future roots). If this is not done, establishment will take long.

Spacing
Some farmers use double rows, others 3 rows, others more. For practicle purposes, however, pineapples are generally planted in double rows spaced at 2 ft (60cm) between the rows, 1 ft (30cm) between plants and 4 ft (120cm) between adjacent double rows. This gives an approximate plant population of 36,250 plants/ha.


The rows are marked using pegs, string and tape. Holes are dug shallowly (7-10cm deep) using a small hoe or just insert a large stick in the ground and only the pedal part is planted and firmed. The propagules are planted on a level ground and later ridged. Ridge planting helps provide a deep bed for a better root growth and also creates water between the double spaces or draining away excess water in water logged areas.

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Fertilizers
Nitrogen is the nutrient most used by pineapples. It can be applied at the rate of 50 kg per hectare top dressed one month after planting. Additional 41-670 kg per hectare applied three to six months interval is recommended before maturity. An additional 200 kg per hectare of nitrogen can be applied to each ratoon crop. Where phosphorus is lacking, plants have narrow brittle leaves with a dark red color spreading the entire leaf. Potassium deficiency produces a poor quality fruit; few suckers and slips will be formed. The best method of application is preplant broadcast mixed with the top 15 cm of soil. Iron deficiency is identified by a general chlorosis (pale yellow or yellow-white colour) similar to that typical of nitrogen deficiency. Zinc deficiency causes a mottled yellowing of the leaves.

Weed Control
Weeds can be controlled in three ways notably by: hand, use of mulch and use of herbicides. To obtain maximum production, perennial weeds should be dug out prior to planting and all newly germinating weeds should be controlled while in seedling stage. If a crop is planted with pineapples, weeding should be done in the early stages. It is advisable that after harvesting the intercrop hand weeding should not be continued. The pineapple has a shallow root system which should not be disturbed.

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Double rows planting

Two type of double row planting,

1. double row on Ridges
2. double row on flat land

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