BANGI: The Malaysian Pineapple Industry Board (LPNM) plans to introduce the night farming method for pineapple planting from next year in efforts to increase pineapple exports from 400,000 tonnes a year to 700,000 tonnes a year by 2025.
Its director-general, Mohd Khairuzamri M Salleh said the night farming method had proven to increase pineapple production based on preliminary studies conducted on several smallholdings.
He said normally pineapple fruits can be harvested after 14 months, but through the night farming method, pineapples can be harvested within 11 months.
"We are trying to realise this innovation because it represents something new in the industry, and we also believe that night farming is being implemented for the first time in the world.
"The pineapple is a type of Crassulacean Acid Metabolism (CAM) plant, where the photosynthesis process takes place at night. So when pineapples are planted and cared for with the night farming method, they are more effective because we give them "food" while they are working compared to fertilising them during the day when they are 'sleeping' or 'resting'," he told Bernama here Tuesday (Oct 11).
Mohd Khairuzamri said LPNM plans to extend night farming for the MD2 variety of pineapples as these are much sought after for export, especially to the Middle East and Europe.
Elaborating, he said the night farming method also gives several benefits to the country's pineapple planters, and this includes improving the quality of the pineapples and increasing productivity of work in the pineapple industry.
"Currently, pineapple orchard workers do not work for long hours as they are unable to withstand the daytime heat. However, with this method, the workers can work longer and it (this method) can also reduce the risk of attacks on the crops by pests due to the presence of the workers at night," he said.
Mohd Khairuzamri said the night farming method will be integrated with the use of solar energy sources to save costs for the pineapple growers.
He also said that LPNM is always innovating with products produced from pineapple waste to ensure that pineapple growers not only generate additional income but also can maintain the sustainability of the environment.
"The zero-waste programme or pineapples without waste has been emphasised by LPNM to ensure development or increased pineapple crops do not harm the environment such as open burning or waste disposal.
"LPNM is collaborating with various government and private agencies, private and public institutes of higher learning to develop downstream products from pineapple tree waste such as pineapple fibre yarn, paper, animal feed, plant medium and others," he said.
He said his team expects each pineapple plant to potentially generate income of up to RM50 in the future, which includes sales of fresh fruit, tendrils as plant material as well as leaves and other pineapple waste as basic ingredients for the production of other products. - Bernama