By Pinaki Das
Ushabazar (Tripura), Apr 22 : Pineapple growers in Tripura are gearing up to meet the Italian demand for canned and bottled pineapple products. Having a favourable agro-climatic condition, the slopes of Tripura are ideal for pineapple cultivation, particularly the queen variety, considered the best for its distinct taste.
Pineapple growers, however, lament the lack of marketing facilities. The arrival of Pijush Agro Tech, a fruit-processing unit in Ushabazar area in Agartala, provides them with a new ray of hope.
"The queen variety of the pineapple is considered the best in the world in terms of its taste, flavour and sweetness. We got an order from Italy," said P. S. Chauhan, factory manager of Pijush Agro Tech.
The consignment of delivering 102, 000 cans of pineapple slices comes in the wake of a group of Italian officials inspecting and giving their approval for the fruit.
"This is the first time Tripura's pineapples is going abroad. The officials from Italy who came down to Agartala said this is only taste consignment. They just wanted people of Italy and Europe to taste Tripura's pineapple. In future, if we fulfill this consignment, we will get more orders from Italy and other European countries," said Dipen Choudhury, the in-charge of the processing unit.
The processed pineapples are priced at 2.76 dollars.
The North East Region Agricultural Marketing Corporation (NERAMAC), the central agricultural marketing agency and the Tripura Small Industries Corporation have come forward with their mini-fruit processing units. But, the capacity of these units is not adequate to fulfill international demand.
Meanwhile, a Primary Agricultural Credit Society (PACS) has been set up to look after the marketing aspect of pineapples.