The pineapple is a popular fruit consumed either in the form of slices of the fresh fruit or as juice. There is increasing urban fruits consumers demand for properly packed fresh pineapple packs.
There are no large-scale pineapple growers at present and pineapple is
produced exclusively as a smallholder crop. Uganda has two seasons of pineapples without any irrigation.
Demand for pineapple
There is local demand for pineapple for both fresh and juice pineapple. There is some demand for Ugandan pineapple in Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan as Ugandan pineapples are sweeter and less acidic.
It is important to note that Uganda produces only 0.35% of total pineapple production for East Africa compared to 80% and over 19% produced in Kenya and Tanzania respectively. The country does not at the moment have enough volumes to deal with increase in demand but there is unexploited potential to increase the supply.
Importance of pineapple growing
Pineapple growing has the following importance in Uganda:
- It is a cash crop for a number of households
- The pineapple is eaten as a food crop
- A number of households are occupied in pineapple growing related activities
- It has the potential for foreign exchange earning
The leading producers of Pineapples internationally are:
- Thailand (1.7 million MT),
- Philippines (1.6 million MT),
- Brazil (1.4 million MT),
- China (1.3 million MT), and
- India (1.1 million MT).
The leading African producers include Nigeria (889,000 MT) and Kenya (600,000 MT)
Exports of Pineapples
There is some export of fresh pineapple to the following countries:
- United Kingdom
Processing of pineapple juices.
The processors of pineapple juice include the following:
- Jakana mixed Pineapple Juice
- Britannia Pineapple Juice
- Kyekyo Pineapple Juice.
However, the major supermarket still stock a number of pineapple juice brands mainly imported from South Africa, Kenya and United Arab Emirates.
There is also a potential for dried pineapples on the market except the prices of the packs appear to be on the high end. The producers of solar dried pineapples include the following:
- Fruits of the Nile located on Factory Road, Victoria Business Park Njeru.
- FLONA Commodities Ltd located on 15 Cornwell Crescent Kampala.
- AMFRI Farms Ltd located in Ntinda Kampala.
- Bio fresh located in Kampala
- Bio Uganda Located in Kampala
- SULMA Foods located in Kasana Kikyusa Luwero District.
- Masaka Organic Producers located in Masaka District.
There are a few brands of processed wines now available in the urban areas.
The pineapple growing areas
The following are the major pineapple growing areas:
- Kayunga District
- Luwero District.
- Iganga District
- Tororo Districts
- Kamuli Districts
Uses of Pineapples in Uganda
The pineapples have the following uses:
- Canned products like juice.
- Sliced Pineapples for eating.
- Jam can be made out of Pineapples.
- Beverages and Alcoholic drinks can be made out of Pineapples
Uganda grows the following pineapple varieties
- Cayenne Variety
- MD2 small extra sweet variety developed by the Hawaiian Pineapple Research Institute It gives a medium to large cylindrical, square-shouldered fruit, with large flat eyes and an intense orange colour. The fruit (MD2) is high on sugar (15 – 170 Brix) and ascorbic acid is lower in total acid than Smooth Cayenne
Challenges facing pineapple growing
- Lack of capital by the small farmers to buy inputs and deal with issues of quality
- Lack of appropriate transport facilities to minimise bruising and early fermentation.
- Uganda is a land locked and export its pineapple by air at the moment
- Uganda produces the large smooth cayenne variety, which is, less competitive in the EU markets compared to MD2 small extra sweet variety.
- Lack of market information
- Low production and underdeveloped processing industry