Pineapple producers from the municipality of Guarayos are seeking to produce this native fruit throughout the whole year, which is why they are working with the Center for Research and Promotion of Peasants (Cipca) on a project to achieve this goal and to produce pineapples in a shorter time, i.e. in 10 months instead of 18 months.
They are working on new varieties. Jaime Vasquez, secretary of Productive Development of Ascensión of Guarayos, said that in 2016 this municipality had invested 200 thousand bolivianos to work together with Cipca on new early maturation pineapple varieties that didn't lose any quality and taste. "Currently, producing a pineapple in Guarayos, from sowing to harvest, takes 18 months, but we have managed to produce our first seedlings with fruits in ten months in our experimental field. We hope to continue advancing in the research and achieve the same productivity as Chapare," said the official.
He also said that the municipality currently had 140 hectares of pineapple, a production area that can grow over time.
Families live from this crop. There are around 100 families that are dedicated to this production, which makes it the fourth generator of economy of Ascension de Guarayos. "More than 90% of the producers from Guarayos plant 1 to 2 hectares and the remaining 10% have 5 hectares onwards," said the Secretary of Productive Development.
A profitable business. Producer Jose Eduardo Charepiaba said that the pineapple from Guarayos was characterized by its pleasant and sweet taste, and that the producers still cultivate this fruit manually without machinery, which is why they don't produce it in large areas. "The yield per hectare is 15 thousand to 20 thousand seedlings. The production cost per pineapple is 3 to 4 bolivianos and it is sold to the from 5 bolivianos on, depending on the fruit's size," said the producer, adding that a producer would make up to 60 thousand bolivianos per hectare.
Pineapple fair is coming soon
According to Charepiaba, the producers organise the pineapple fair, which will be held in November, with the support of the municipality. There they can showcase the fruit and all its derivatives, such as jams and liqueurs, among others. At the moment, the main market for the pineapple from Guarayo is the municipality itself and the city of Santa Cruz.
It's worth noting that in March of this year, Ascension de Guarayos was declared the pineapple production capital through municipal law 04/2017. This year, producers have recovered after 50% of the crops were affected by fire in 2016.