Mindanao’s pineapple industry posted robust growth last year despite the global economic downturn, generating export sales of $352.3 million, official data showed.

Pineapple export sales last year were 42.17% more than the previous year’s $247.8 million, the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics said in a report released recently.

The United States and Japan, two of the countries affected by the global financial turmoil, bought at least 60% of the country’s pineapple exports in 2008. Japan took the bulk of fresh pineapple, while the US bought canned products.

The volume of exports reached 809,315 metric tons (MT) in 2008, up 37.36% from the previous year’s 589,206 MT.

Mindanao produces nearly 90% of the country’s pineapples, a large part of which comes from Northern Mindanao (Region 10) and Central Mindanao (Region 12 or Soccsksargen), specifically in the form of canned products.

Northern Mindanao is home to the pineapple farms of Del Monte Philippines, Inc., while Region 12 hosts Dole Philippines, Inc. (Dolefil).

The Davao Region also exports mostly fresh pineapple to Japan.

Pineapple production in 2008 rose by 9.6% to 2.2 million MT from 2 million MT the previous year. “The gain was attributed to area expansion in Northern Mindanao and Soccsksargen. Producers were encouraged by the increasing market demand,” the report explained.

Area planted to pineapple rose to 58,000 hectares from 54,000 hectares in 2007.

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