- Fruits: pineapples
- Crop Production: conservation tillage
- Education and Training: display, farmer to farmer
- Farm Business Management: agritourism, new enterprise development, marketing management, whole farm planning
- Pest Management: chemical control, cultural control, integrated pest management, physical control, mulching - plastic, prevention, row covers (for pests), sanitation, mulching - vegetative
- Production Systems: transitioning to organic
- Soil Management: organic matter
- Sustainable Communities: public participation, analysis of personal/family life, employment opportunities, social capital, sustainability measures
I started pineapple farming in 2008 with 250 plants and not knowing anything about pineapples. The land I am farming belongs to my wife’s family. It is located up on the mountain, about 1,000 feet above sea level, and just below Mt.Tapochao (highest mountain in Saipan CNMI). The farmland is too windy during the day and cold at night. It has a land area of 85,000 square meters on flat surface with a 2-5 % slope. In 1994, I started farming varieties of vegetables such as corn, cucumbers, string beans, bell peppers and many more. Due to strong winds for the plants, I could not harvest 80% of my crops, and so with the right climate and environment that I farm in, I developed an idea to farm pineapples.
It is usually thought that pineapples originated in Hawaii; however, pineapple trees originated from both South America and the Caribbean. It may also be considered to be a plant, due tohow it grows on the ground. Pineapples were first introduced to Spain by Christopher Columbus in 1493, which leads us to the idea that pineapples were brought to the Northern Mariana Islands during the Spanish period in 1521 on Guam. The three varieties of pineapples that are grown in the Northern Mariana Islands today are Red Spanish, known as “local pina,” Queens, known as “pinan Aleman” and the Smooth Cayenne known as “pinan Hawaii.” Although the weather and environment is suitable to expand the production of pineapple in the CNMI, local pineapple is scarce due to short supply of produce, competition of “high in quality” and“low in price” imported fruits, common pests, and the lack of data to cultivate it. To produce sufficient pineapples, plants should be provided with applicable methods and maintenance.
As a novice in pineapple farming, I searched for more information about pineapple production. My intentions are to acquire quality plant materials, practice conservation in farmland and to educate the community of how we may increase and sustain the product in the CNMI. With the improved knowledge of farmers and non-farmers in growing pineapples, we will no longer depend on imported fruits and begin to export our own grown fruits. Part of the conservation practices includes crop rotation, cover crop, mulching, pest management, nutrients management, micro irrigation, contour farming and intercropping system. By implementing these techniques, we will have a vast growth of pineapples in the CNMI. With the help of Northern Marianas CREES Program, I was able to receive assistance from the Western SARE (Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education) for funding the necessities for this research.