JP Tropical Foods plans to grow its pineapple cultivation by nearly 50 per cent this year.
To facilitate speedier processing of the perishable fruit, JP Tropical, a subsidiary of Jamaica Producers Group, will spend $48 million to develop a packing plant for its pineapple operation in St Mary.
The plant, to be commissioned in May, will automate the washing, waxing and bagging of the fruit. The process is now done manually by hand. It will come on stream at a time when JP is ramping up production of pines, having expanded its fields by 12 hectares to 37 hectares.
Each hectare can produce 45,000 pineapples, said general manager of JP Tropical Foods, David Martin. This could translate to roughly 1.6 million pineapples on the 37 hectares. Checks by Gleaner Buisness reveal that some farms in Latin America can produce even more than 70,000 pines per hectare.
JP is investing in the plant to improve productivity. It allows the company to operate with a greater degree of efficiency, utilising the same number of workers, 308, employed at the company’s St Mary farms that also produce other crops, including bananas.
“If we didn’t have the packing plant, then we would have to invest in more staff,” said Martin.
Published in the Jamaica Gleaner
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