New Pineapple Growing Effort Could Slash Prices, Minister Says

YERUSHALAYIM -
Pineapples, mangoes and oranges are displayed for purchase in the Machneh Yehudah market in Yerushalayim. (Hymanson/Flash90)

Pineapples are expensive in Israel, but if Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel has his way, the price of the exotic fruit will go way down. Currently, a pineapple can cost between NIS 30 and 80, but Ariel is proposing to allow for greater imports of pineapples, as well as increasing local harvests, with the objective of bringing the price down to NIS 10 per pineapple.

Currently, pineapples can be imported from just two places – Kenya and Dominican Republic. In addition, they have to be stripped of their crowns before they are allowed to enter the country – which reduces their shelf life, lest insects in the crown harm local produce, like avocados and bananas. Ariel wants to expand the list of countries from where pineapples can be imported. Israeli-grown pineapples are sold with their crowns intact.

“If the investigation we are conducting pans out, we will begin importing pineapples with crowns, allowing us to significantly increase imports. We have not yet found a way to ensure that there are no pests in the crowns, but we are working on alternative methods of dealing with the problem.” said Ariel. “In addition, we can allow imports from Costa Rica, the Philippines, Thailand, and other places.”

Locally, some 80 farms grow pineapples on some 2,500 dunams of land. The Ministry is planning to encourage more farmers to get into the pineapple growing business, and teach them how to do it. The Ministry recently held a seminar about the matter, Yediot Acharonot said – but many farmers expressed anger at the Ministry for proposing to increase the import of pineapples.