Of late, the talk of the town seems to be revolving around the planting of MD2 pineapple. The questions is, why is this MD2 pineapple so popular?
Pineapple is known to contain highest amount of vitamin C among all various types of fruits. It also contains a fair amount of magnesium, calcium, potassium and iron and develops a bromelin, of which is a type of enzyme.
First started back in 1961, a hybrid variety namely “73-114”, developed by Pineapple Research Institude (PRI) in Hawaii was found to be extraordinary and was taken to Costa Rica for its first trial industrial planting. The variety was later renamed MD2 to honour the wife of the then General Manager of the Maui Pineapple Company.
Originated from the Philippines, the pineapple was then introduced into Malaysia and it was discovered that the land in Malaysia is very suitable for the planting of MD2 pineapple, hence producing higher quality and sweeter pineapple.
Why MD2 Pineapple?
The reason why MD2 pineapple is so popular is not only due to it’s exceptional breed, but it is also because of the ease in planting the pineapple. Although it takes about 16 months to produce, MD2 pineapple has more benefits to offer than other types of pineapples. It also produces more suckers that are available for the market. It is estimated that after the MD2 pineapple is ripe, MD2 pineapple plant will have at least 4 suckers to plant 4 more MD2 pineapple plants. This means that in the long term, even though under usual circumstances normal pineapple breed would bear fruit in 6-8 months, by taking 16 months of MD2 pineapple production cycle in count, MD2 would bear 4 fruits in 16 months compared to 2 for normal pineapple breed. In terms of profits, it seems like MD2 yields double profit than usual.
MD2 pineapple is also naturally immune to diseases and viruses, hence it needs not much care. It also does not require artificial or man-made water sources as it grows dependently on the natural water sources, i.e. rain. MD2 pineapple contains four times more Vitamin C than other pineapple varieties and has longer shelf life.
It is very important to be able to be sustainable in the agriculture industry. The problem faced by farmers, especially in planting pineapple is that they face difficulties in obtaining the seeds or suckers. Even if they are able to obtain the suckers, the quality varies and they might not be the original MD2 variety of pineapple. The farmers end up having more issues to tackle.
Therefore, the farmers now can rely on technology to monitor their crops and production. They can even manage their crops remotely and in real time without having the hassle of being in the plantation the whole time.
With new technologies such as drones, gps and even blockchain, MD2 pineapple farmers can now rely on them to produce higher grade and quality MD2 pineapples. This smart farming method allows farmers to monitor their produce from farm to fork effortlessly.
Through blockchain technology such as the new DSTE Chain that was launched in July 2019, farmers can now obtain information about their crops, where it is sent to processed up to the market shelf where consumers make their purchases. Also through DSTE chain that farmers find out which area of their land yields the best and highest grade of MD2 pineapple production.
This technology is coupled with DLT technology that forms transparent database on an immutable blockchain system, therefore the information saved in the system is impossible to modify and is a reliable system over time. To ensure fairness, all information gathered by DSTE will be used to create a transparent and reliable records available for farmers, market participants, consumers and authorities.
Planting MD2 pineapple
It is easier to plan MD2 pineapple than other varieties. Usually, for the planting of normal pineapple variety, the best soil acidity is between pH5.5 to 6 and planted under peat soil for optimum production. Furthermore, it needs to be grown on slopes between 2-6 percent. Although grown naturally, normal pineapple requires artificial irrigation system for dry season.
However, all the above is not necessary with the planting of MD2 pineapple. It does not require any irrigation system, dependant solely on the natural rainfall and water source. It can also be planted on flat land without having the slopes.
To increase the productivity of MD2 pineapple, one effective method is to optimise planting density. According to Vences C. Valleser in his paper titled “Planting Density Influenced the Fruit Mass and Yield of ‘Sensuous’ Pineapple”, he compared the effects of planting density on the fruit mass and the yields of the fruit in different densities. It was discovered that the highest density with 75,000 pineapple plants per hectare yields highest result of 101 tonnes of pineapple.
Similarly, for MD2 pineapple, planting densities above 70,000 plants per hectare produces highest yields but on average, yields were 62,594 plants per hectare and the fruit weights between 1.5 to 2.0k.g. This goes to show that the planting density method did not affect the weight nor quality of MD2 pineapple.
Estimated at 14.6 million tonnes of pineapple production globally annually, there is no doubt that the demand for pineapple is escalating. Currently, the main producers for pineapples are Thailand, the Phillipines, Brazil, China and Mexico. Meanwhile, for MD2 variety, the major producer is Costa Rica and Brazil for fresh pineapple, while Philippines carries both fresh fruit and canned fruit for export and Thailand and Indonesia produces MD2 pineapple in can for export as well.
Due to the demand surge, lately Malaysia is also aggressively promoting the plantation of MD2 pineapple and DSTE Capital Limited is on the pace to be the largest MD2 pineapple planter in Malaysia, serving the rising demand from China and other countries.
With the aid of technology and the breeding of higher quality MD2 pineapple variety, it is expected that the demand for MD2 will continue to grow.