5 Things you didn’t know about pineapples
June 27th is International Pineapple Day! It may not be a major international holiday, but we at PfD think there’s still a lot to celebrate. Our Pineapple Process for Export (PINEX) project in Benin is strengthening the pineapple value chain – meaning that we’re working to increase trade, strengthen markets, and improve the livelihoods of the people in Benin who are producing and processing pineapples.
Along the way we’ve learned a lot about this tasty fruit! So, in honor of International Pineapple Day, PfD presents:
5 things you didn’t know about pineapples!
#1 Okay, now this one surprises people every time. Did you know that pineapples actually don’t grow on trees? Nope. They grow out of the ground on a short, stocky stem. Don’t believe us? A picture is worth a thousand words:
#2 There are a LOT of different varieties of pineapples. In Benin they primarily grow Sugarloaf and Smooth Cayenne. Sugarloaf pineapples aren’t yellow like we’re used to in the United States or in Europe – they have a greenish peel, and the fruit is white. They’re also extra sweet. Beninese exporters actually require that producers use a chemical that alters the color of the fruit, or European customers won’t want them. Building awareness and marketing that pineapples don’t have to be yellow to be delicious is part of the PINEX project.
#3 The pineapples you eat don’t all come from Hawaii. The US produced about 175,000 metric tons of pineapples in 2011, and in the same year imported over 815,000 metric tons. Over 85% of these imports came from Costa Rica. Globally, in addition to Costa Rica, the countries that have averaged the highest production of pineapples over the last ten years are Thailand, the Philippines, Brazil, and India.
#4 “Pineapple” is a particularly great word in French (the official language of Benin): it’s “Anana!” Okay, if you took French in high school you might have learned this one, but it’s too fun to pass up.
#5 Pineapples have a particularly long growing cycle – for the fruit to be matured and ready takes about 18 months. Through PINEX, PfD is working with farmers to shorten the average cultivation cycle with improved irrigation and rotating planting so that they always have pineapples to sell.
(Bonus #6) This is how pineapples are currently brought from Benin to Nigeria! PfD is working to build a cold storage facility and market infrastructure that will improve the efficiency of this process, and result in less waste.