January 11,2017,Nairobi. Kenya pineapple exports are projected to rise following a strong demand that has been consistent through 2016 and now carrying on to 2017. Selina Wamucii, which works with smallholder farmers to export Kenya pineapples among other fresh produce globally, registered a sharp increase in pineapple exports from the second half of 2016 onwards. The company now says it projects even more volumes through 2017 based on the volume of enquiries for Kenya pineapples coming in from around the world.
The smooth cayenne variety is the most popular owing to its taste and ability to last for long. Popular destinations for the Kenyan pineapples include the Middle East, Africa, and Europe among other regions around the world.
Consistently trained Kenya smallholder farmers are now producing high quality Kenya pineapples of the smooth cayenne verity and as more farmers join the growing numbers of pineapple growers, the supply is likely to meet the rising demand.
Traditionally the pineapple fruit is a favourite across households in the world, and when production goes down in key producing countries, then the demand certainly shoots through the roof. This is exactly what has happened and now importers in popular pineapple markets are rushing to meet customer demand, motivated by good returns as a result of the shortage that is currently being experienced worldwide.
Demand in countries like Israel is extremely high as production from producing farms within the country is insufficient and thus cannot cope with the growing demand. The United States is another market where demand especially for the small size pineapples is overpowering supply.
Pineapples perform best in soils with high in manganese or iron concentrations, which are abundant in Kenya. This is an encouraging factor for Kenya smallholder farmers interested in pineapple growing since most soils across the country can comfortably accommodate the popular fruit.
Selina Wamucii’s goal is to eventually be able to take all smallholders grown Kenya pineapples to the market and this is why the company pays a lot of attention to the quality of the crop right from planting, maintenance, harvesting to packaging. While smallholder farms which do not meet the quality standards are not immediately considered for supply, they will be guided to ensure everything is done right in order to produce the desired quality.
While demand for canned pineapples is also promising, many markets around the world now demand fresh pineapples with countries like China already consuming thousands of tonnes of fresh pineapples which are preferred specifically for the fresh natural taste straight from the farm onto the table.
Kenya’s high altitudes means that the country has a huge opportunity to increase pineapple acreage as pineapples grown in hilly areas perform better in terms of quality in addition to being easy to manage.