One of the primary agricultural exports of the Philippines is the pineapple. Some of the largest pineapple plantations in the world can be found in the country. Dole and Del Monte have an influential presence at local levels. With the exception of the Thai pineapple industry, the Philippines is the largest pineapple producer in the world today.
What makes Philippine pineapples such a unique agricultural product is that it is such a versatile item. It can be eaten fresh or it can be cooked. Pineapples can be juiced. They are often diced to be included in desserts. They can be turned into jam. Even the leaves can be processed into textile fibers, wallpaper, or furniture.
Important Statistics About the Philippine Pineapple Industry
#1. In 2015, the Philippine pineapple industry produced 2.58 million metric tons of fruit. The growth of the industry has been slow, but steady, as there were 2.23 million metric tons of fruit produced in 2011. (Statista)
#2. In Q3 2017, pineapple production in the Philippines produced an increase of 1.5% over the same quarter in 2016. The growth was attributed to a harvest increase thanks to the expansion of corporate farms in Mindanao and Cotabato. (Philippine Statistics Authority)
#3. Northern Mindanao is the top producing region for pineapples in the Philippines. This one region accounts for an average of 61% of the annual crop. The next closest region is Soccsksargen, which produces about 28% of the crop. The Bicol region provides about 6% of the total pineapple crop. (Philippine Statistics Authority)
#4. Most of the active pineapple plantations in the Philippines are classified as being small, with a total size of 2 hectares or less. This means outside of the major tropical fruit brands that are active in the country, the average pineapple plantation owner is catering to the local market. (Food and Fertilizer Technology Center)
#5. There are three primary cultivars grown in the Philippine pineapple industry: Formosa (Queen), Cayenne, and Red Spanish. The latter cultivar is primarily used for its leaf production rather than providing fruit to the industry. (Food and Fertilizer Technology Center)
#6. Pineapple harvesting in the Philippines is a year-round experience. For the smaller farms, the peak time for harvest is usually April thru July. (Food and Fertilizer Technology Center)
#7. The most common way to expand a pineapple plantation in the Philippines is to use material harvest from previous crops that have been grown, using suckers and slips. (Food and Fertilizer Technology Center)
#8. The total area of production planted for pineapples as of 2013 is just over 60,000 hectares. In 2008, the total area of production was just over 58,000 hectares. That translates to an annual growth rate of 0.86%. (Food and Fertilizer Technology Center)
#9. 41% of the Philippine pineapple industry is dedicated to total net food and is treated as a disposable product. 37% of the products produced are designated for general processing. 5% of the industry is dedicated to feed products or waste materials. (Food and Fertilizer Technology Center)
#10. Just 17% of the Philippine pineapple industry is composed of fresh fruit that is designated for export. (Food and Fertilizer Technology Center)
#11. The average annual growth rate of the farmgate price of pineapples in the Philippines was as high as 7.71% for the Formosa type of fruit. Cayenne pineapples had an annual farmgate price growth average of 2.82%, while the Red Spanish pineapples experienced annual growth of 3.07%. (Food and Fertilizer Technology Center)
#12. Pineapples that are grown in the Philippines are exported in processed forms in addition to the fresh fruit that is shipped. Dole and Del Monte are the primary exporters of pineapple products for the industry. Although exports declined from 2008-2010, the industry has recovered to experience annual growth rates of 11% or more in some years. (Food and Fertilizer Technology Center)
#13. Japan is the primary country that imports pineapples from the Philippines, accounting for 87% of the total export portion of the Philippine pineapple industry. South Korea and China both account for another 5% each for pineapple exports. (Food and Fertilizer Technology Center)
#14. The most popular processed forms of pineapple that are exported from the Philippines are purees, juices, dried fruit, and preserves in syrup. (Food and Fertilizer Technology Center)
#15. One of the reasons why the pineapple is such a popular fruit is because it contains bromelain. That is an enzyme that helps to digest food because it is able to break down proteins that have been consumed. At the same time, it works to reduce inflammation in the digestive tract, offers anti-clotting properties, and may provide relief for indigestion. (Choose Philippines).
#16. Pineapples also contain high levels of Vitamin A and Beta Carotene, which may lower the risk of future serious health issues. (Choose Philippines)
#17. In 2005, the Philippines was the third top exporter of pineapples in the world, with a market share of just over 9% in 2005. In just 10 years, the Philippines was able to grow their industry to take over the second spot on that list. (Invest Philippines).
#18. There are currently 205 different pineapple products that are currently offered for sale on Alibaba right now. 44% of the wholesale products are canned fruit, while 1 in 3 listings is for fresh pineapples. (Alibaba)
#19. The sweetest pineapples grown in the Philippines, the Formosa, originally came from Thailand. To avoid confusion in the export industry, they were rebranded as “Queen” pineapples. (Manila Bulletin)
#20. A P10,000 investment into pineapple farming can produce a return of P25,000 or more. (Manila Bulletin)
Philippine Pineapple Trends and Analysis
As with any tropical fruit industry, the Philippine pineapple may experience economic downturns from time to time. Because of the popularity of the product, however, there will always be local and international markets that are seeking to import more of this sweet fruit.
What is unique about this industry is that much of it is focused on local needs through small farming practices. Because of this attribute, the industry is somewhat insulated from global economic trends. It is an essential component of the local diet and provides textile resources that are frequently used.
If shipping methods can be improved for Philippine pineapples, the United States market could provide the foundation for tremendous growth for the industry. The U.S. is the top importer of fresh pineapple, canned pineapple, plain pineapple juice, and concentrated pineapple juice (UNCTAD). Less than 3% of Philippine pineapples designated for export ever reach the United States. In many years, less than 1% of exports reach the United States.
There will always be a place in this world for the Philippine pineapple. That is why there is so much potential for this industry.