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Kerala looks for ways to earn more from pineapples

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  8 Feb 2016 12:00 AM GMT

Kochi, Feb 7: Farmers, traders and Kerala government officials are meeting on Sunday in a ‘Pineapple Fest’ to find ways to better produce and market the fruit which fetches the state Rs.750 crore annually. The state accounts for 70 per cent of India’s pineapple production, but has yet to make a mark in the overseas market and has not had much success in value added products like juice concentrate, candies, halwa and dry fruits. At Pineapple Fest, held over February 5-7 at Vazhakulam in Erkulam district here, the state government has invited potential buyers from South-east Asian and Middle Eastern countries to see for themselves the business opportunities inherent in Kerala’s annual production of 3.5 lakh tonnes of pineapples. A big boost to Kerala’s pineapple farmers and traders came in 2009 when a particular variety of the fruit grown in Vazhakulam got the Geographical Indication (GI) label. Since then most of the state’s pineapple output benefits by the me of ‘Vazhakulam pineapple’. Experts said that further branding of GI-labelled Vazhakulam pineapple is the first step to boost the market for the fruit in India and abroad. “Our product is far superior in taste to others and we have decided to give this product a branding. Unless we do it, we just cannot compete and for that we will soon look out for a brand ambassador,” Ismail Rawther, director, Kerala Pineapple Mission, told IANS. He said the Kerala Agricultural University is also ready with new technologies to increase the shelf life of fresh pineapples. One big impediment in better marketing of Kerala’s pineapples overseas is the cost of production as compared to South East Asian countries, Jose Kalapura, the president of the Pineapple Farmers Association, told IANS. (IANS)

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