Pineapple - History

History

The plant is indigenous to South America and is said to originate from the area between Southern Brazil and Paraguay; however, it is important to note that little is known about the origin of the domesticated pineapple (Pickersgill, 1976). M.S. Bertoni (1919) considered the Paraná–Paraguay River drainages to be the place of origin of A. comosus. The natives of southern Brazil and Paraguay spread the pineapple throughout South America, and it eventually reached the Caribbean. Columbus discovered it in 1493 in the Indies and brought it back with him to Europe thus making the pineapple the first bromeliad to leave the New World. The Spanish introduced it into the Philippines, Hawaii (introduced in the early 19th century, first commercial plantation 1886), Zimbabwe and Guam. Many say the fruit was first introduced in Hawaii when a Spanish ship brought them there in the 1500s. The fruit was cultivated successfully in European hothouses, and pineapple pits, beginning in 1720.

John Kidwell is credited with the introduction of the pineapple industry in Hawaii. Large-scale pineapple cultivation by U.S. companies began in the early 1900s on Hawaii. Among the most famous and influential pineapple industrialists was James Dole who moved to Hawaii in 1899 and started a pineapple plantation in 1900. The companies Dole and Del Monte began growing pineapple on the island of Oahu in 1901 and 1917, respectively. Dole's pineapple company began with the acquisition of 60 acres (24 ha) of land in 1901, and, as previously mentioned, has grown into a major company today. Maui Pineapple Company began pineapple cultivation on the island of Maui in 1909. In 2006, Del Monte announced its withdrawal from pineapple cultivation in Hawaii, leaving only Dole and Maui Pineapple Company in Hawaii as the USA's largest growers of pineapples. Maui Pineapple Company markets its Maui Gold brand of pineapple and Dole markets its Hawaii Gold brand of pineapple.

In the USA in 1986, the Pineapple Research Institute was dissolved and its assets were divided between Del Monte and Maui Land and Pineapple. Del Monte took variety 73–114, which it dubbed MD-2, to its plantations in Costa Rica, found it to be well-suited to growing there, and launched it publicly in 1996. (Del Monte also began marketing 73–50, dubbed CO-2, as Del Monte Gold). In 1997, Del Monte began marketing its Gold Extra Sweet pineapple, known internally as MD-2. MD-2 is a hybrid that originated in the breeding program of the now-defunct Pineapple Research Institute in Hawaii, which conducted research on behalf of Del Monte, Maui Land & Pineapple Company, and Dole.

Production of pineapples by country – 2009
(thousand metric ton)
Philippines 2198
Thailand 1894
Costa Rica 1870
Indonesia 1558
Chile 1477
Brazil 1471
India 1341
Nigeria 898
Mexico 685
Vietnam 460
Colombia 428
Malaysia 400
Source:
Food and Agriculture Organization

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