Like any other cash crops, pineapple has also found a place in the soils of Manipur and the state is also becoming the safe breeding ground for it. Without any exageration, pineapple production in the sate has outdone any other fruits production. Over the years, its popularity too has been nagging the hearts of pineapple lovers of the state.
Economically, the fruit has also become the backbone of a sizeable section of farmers who have been cultivating it as their major source of income. It has, interestingly, helped in keeping the ceaseless burning of many hearths of the state. Despite the lack of technical know-how to improve its production and preservation of the produces, numerous farmers' success stories have been scripted with a span of six decades since it was first cultivated in 1947.
Area of Cultivation: Locally known as 'lengthei', pineapple has been cultivated in all the 9 districts of Manipur. As per survery conducted by the Manipur Pineapple Festival Committee in August 2008, about 2400 acres of land has been under pineapple cultivation in Manipur. Churachandpur District, with over 700 acres of land in cultivation is recorded to have the most extensive cultivation in Manipur.. About 350-400 farmers are actively engaged in pineapple cultivation in Churachandpur District alone.
Production: Pineapple is the largest fruits that is produced in Manipur, and rightfully could be honoured as the State Fruit. Aboout 2.40 crores of pineapple fruits are produced in the state. The average weight of a single pineapple is said to be 1.5 kg, whereas, the weight of pineapple range from 1 to 3 kg. As stated above, it can be surmised that, about 3.60 crore kg of pineapple are produced in Manipur.
Marketing: The most challenging task being faced by the farmers is that of marketing. In the absence of reliable industry, pineapple production are meant only for human consumption. As such, the market of Manipur is now 'over' saturated with pineapple products. The market of Imphal, Churachandpur, Thoubal, Moirang etc are overloaded with hard-to-resist yellowish fruits during the month of July & August every year. Disgracefully, the price of pineapple is 'too' low for a 'handsome' business with only Rs 3 - 5 per kg.
Problems: The pineapple farmers of Manipur are facing a number of problems. To begin with, transportation is always a headache since the pineapple farms are located in remote and interior areas in the absence of 'good' and 'reliable' roads communication. A good percentage of money has been spent by the farmers in transportation, thereby, denying the 'worth' profit to be gained by the cultivatiors. Secondly, pineapple being a highly perishable fruits, there is an urgent need for 'cold storage' in order to preserve the fruiting fruits.
Future Prospect: Pineapple cultivation can be an alternative 'human industry' for generating source of income and enriching the economy of the State. Against this backdrop, the role of Governmental macheneries can be exiler.
Considering the large quantity of production, the Government of the day may chip into this area in partnership with the farmers by setting up 'cold storage' in major locations of the state and setting up of Pineapple Processing Industry in selected centre (s).
The raw materials are waiting in abundant and labour force is not wanting either. Zeal, enthusiasm, vision and dreams can change the state dramatically for a better tomorrow.