The pineapple, a fruit closely associated with the province of Ciego de Ávila, is making a comeback.
The territory has over one hundred years of agriculture experience and with vast stretches of land dedicated to pineapple cultivation, it has become the leading national producer of the fruit.
Originating in South America, the “queen of fruits” is very popular among European consumers, particularly the hybrid MD-2 variety, and its cultivation covers an important area of Ciego de Ávila’s farmland.
The Cuban pineapple is very much sought after around the world because it is juicier and sweeter. Its sugar to acidity ratio makes it an exceptional fruit. Even though the Spanish Red is the most commonly grown variety in the red soil of Ciego with its high iron content, a program is being implemented to increase the cultivation of the MD-2 pineapple to 2,500 hectares by 2020.
The greatest fruit yield was in 1991 with a harvest of over 30,200 tons, after which production declined due to national economic difficulties.
Since an Agro-Industrial Enterprise fruit program took effect in 2009, cultivation has extended to other provincial and national regions and the outlook for pineapple cultivation now seems much brighter.
Produce is destined for export, as well as domestic consumption via agricultural markets and hotels at Jardines del Rey and other Cuban tourist resorts.
The program also aims to boost juice and nectar production, as well as pineapple slice manufacture to meet demand in the domestic and tourism sectors.
The pineapple is the sweet symbol of agriculture of the province of Ciego de Ávila, located some 430 km east of Havana, and the fruit is honored annually at the Piña Colada Cuban Music Festival - named after the pineapple-based cocktail.