Tripura starts exporting ‘Queen’ pineapples to Dubai

Agartala: Tripura’s ‘Queen’ variety pineapples are finally on their way to Dubai with Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb on Sunday flagging off a one tonne consignment — the first.

The exquisite variety of fruit, known for being juicy and sweet, was sent on a SpiceJet aircraft via New Delhi.

The private airliner last month signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the state government-run Tripura Horticulture Corp and a Kolkata-based company to facilitate the exports.

Deb, who personally took the initiative to export the pineapple which is famous in India and neighbouring countries, urged the people to grow more pineapples and jackfruits as both are being produced in Tripura with a rich quality due to the climatic condition, soil and the environment.

“Tripura can earn huge foreign money by cultivating bamboo. If the farmers and others cultivate pineapple, jackfruit and bamboo, their economic condition would see a sea change,” he said at the function.

The Chief Minister said Prime Minister Narendra Modi was keen to double the farmers’ income.

A SpiceJet official said that by Wednesday they would carry three tonnes of pineapples to Dubai.

State Agriculture and Tourism Minister Pranajit Singha Roy, who along with other senior officials was present at the function, said the Bharatiya Janata Party-led alliance government’s initiative to export the pineapples would encourage the farmers to grow pineapples in newer areas in the state.

“Tripura would be able to supply at least 200 MT best grown pineapples during the current season (May to July). The ‘Queen’ pineapples being sold in Tripura for Rs 20 per kg would be at least Rs 80 in the Dubai market,” the minister added.

Tripura Horticulture Department Director Arun Debbarma said this year pineapples were cultivated in 8,500 hectares of land and the production is expected to be 1.28 MT.

Pineapples are one of the major fruit crops in terms of area and volume of production.

The official said the productivity of pineapples per hectare is 18.73 tonnes which is higher than the national average of 15.80 tonnes.

“Tripura pineapple is organic by default because of climatic and soil condition, besides ecological situations,” Debbarma added.