PINEAPPLE (Ananas comosus) are one of the popular fruit crop grown in Malaysia. The Spanish first introduced pineapple to Malaysia in the sixteenth centuries. The pineapple industry in Malaysia is the oldest agro-based export-oriented industry dating back to 1888. Though relatively small compared to palm oil and rubber, the industry also plays an important role in the country's socio-economic development. The world pineapple production trends have undergone severe changes since 1980's with the new producers entering the world markets. With the world demand for canned pineapple estimated to increase around 4 to 5% yearly, there is a bright prospect for the world pineapple industry (MPI 2001). The pineapple industry in Malaysia is unique because nearly 90% of the crop is planted on peat soil, which is considered marginal for most other agricultural crops. Malaysia, once ranked as one of the top 3 pineapple producers in the world in the 60's and early 70's, has only a relatively modest industry today. The total area under pineapple in the last 5 years was only around 7-8 thousand hectares. More than 65% the pineapple area are managed by estates, which grow pineapple for canning purposes (Chan 2000).
The export volume of fresh pineapple is small, usually less than 30 thousand tones annually and targeted mainly for the Singapore market. However, the fresh pineapple export had picked up recently to 40 thousand tonnes worth RM 10 million in 1997. With the introduction of the new hybrid Josephine in 1996, Fresh pineapple production only involves the smallholder with combined areas of about 1,200 hectares. By definition, a farmer who manages a farm less than 100 acres or 40.4 hectares is considered a smallholder. It is characterized by small uneconomical farm size, scattered, low in productivity and individually managed farms. There are differences in the average size of smallholder farm in Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia where as in Peninsular Malaysia the size ranges from 0.5 to 1.2 hectares compared with East Malaysia averaging between 1.0 to 5.0 hectares (MPIB 2004).
But now pineapple started to gain its popularity again and the demand is very high. In year 2000 the size of area planted with pineapple is 14,000 hectares with a production of 191,000 metric tons. According to the Statistics Department, Malaysia' export of pineapple in 2001 is 33,416 metric tones amounting RM 9,931,967 The Malaysian canned pineapple industry, being a relatively small industry, plays an important role in this country's socio-economic. The industry provides employment for people in the canneries, estates and smallholder families. In addition, it also contributes towards the other supporting economic activities such as tinplating industry, packaging and transportation. Although pineapple can be grown all over the country, the planting of pineapple for canning purposes is presently confined to the peat soil area in the state of Johor and in other states such as Sarawak, Kedah, Perak, Kelantan, Terengganu, and Negeri Sembilan, where pineapple is planted specially for domestic fresh consumption. Pineapple is traded in the world market in the form of canned pineapple, single-strength juice, pineapple concentrate and fresh fruit. The pineapple juice can be consumed as a straight or mixed with other juices or blended with other fruits.
Alor Bukit Research Center,