It has been raining cats and dogs in the week gone by. It is also raining pineapples!
The pineapple is actually a bunch of fruits, clustered together like a Rubic Cube. It has flowers and produces seeds, but is propagated through suckers, slips and crowns. It is a plant that defends itself with very spiny edges to its thick rosette of leaves. It can survive periods of drought and adverse atmospheric conditions like the agaves of the deserts.
Like cashew, the Annona (Ramphal, Sitaphal, Laxmanphal, Hanumanphal, etc) and many other fruit plants in Goa, it is of Latin American origin. Botanically known as Ananas comosus, it belongs to the Bromeliaceae family that gives us many flowering and leaf ornamental plants. It is a plant from which we can learn quite a few things.
THE PINEAPPLE SECRET
The crown of leaves, in a tight rosette, sits prominently on the top of the pineapple. Many of us will plant the crown to raise a new pineapple plant, and throw away the small ‘slips’ that are at the base of the pineapple.
Actually, the pineapple ‘slips’ are as important as the cricketer fielding in the slips. The tiny slips grow faster than the crown and bear pineapples in eighteen months instead of the two years that the crown takes to do likewise.
Intelligent farmers do not uproot the plant after it has given fruit, though it will bear no more fruits. The plant will bear side shoots from the leaf axils, commonly known as suckers, as in banana plants. The suckers bear fruit in a year’s time!
BEHIND THE SCENES
After successfully hosting the Konkan Fruit Fest 2022 in partnership with the Corporation of the City of Panaji, the young members of the Botanical Society of Goa are already getting prepared to host the ‘Plant Utsav 2022’ on a bigger scale than the pre-pandemic version in November 2019.
Pineapples can be grown in pots. Fruit plants in pots are possible with guavas, chickoos, star fruit, many kinds of cherries, mulberries, strawberries and all kinds of citrus fruits like limes, lemons and pomelo. What other fruits are possible, we will know in November 2022. The plants will be growing in pots just as ideas keep growing in these young minds.
The Don Bosco College of Agriculture, Sulcorna, Goa, is like a pineapple plant. It has produced a wonderful set of fruits. If Vandit R Naik has picked up the Goa State award of ‘Krishi Ratna 2021’ with the able support of fellow alumna, Priyanka; Liza Pinheiro has been chosen as the ‘Start-up of the year 2022’ by GCCI-FIIRE; and Shweta Gaonkar has made many aspire to climb coconut trees and drive a tractor like her.
If two alumnae of the first batch could complete post graduate studies in two different State Agriculture Universities (SAUs) outside Goa, and a dozen of the second and third batches get admission to post graduate studies in SHUATS-Allahabad, Prayagraj, accredited to ICAR, there has been nothing lacking in the teaching-learning process at the DBCA, Sulcorna. Its students have proved their capacity in both academics and in organizational ability without the need for accreditation by ICAR, though it would have made life easier. Now, they also have the self-confidence needed to achieve more!
The author is the former Chairman of the GCCI Agriculture Committee, CEO of Planter's Choice Pvt Ltd, Additional Director of OFAI and Garden Superintendent of Goa University, and has edited 18 books for Goa & Konkan