MD2 pineapple variety introduced in Camarines Norte

Developed sixty years ago to satisfy the demand for pineapple that is not only sweet but also uniform and consistent in size, MD2 —named after Millie Dillard, the wife of the former general manager of Del Monte— has since been cultivated in various tropical countries. Aside from its good eating qualities, this variety is also packed with higher vitamin C content and has a longer shelf life than other pineapple varieties. 

The DA-Camarines Norte Lowland Rainfed Research Station (CNLRRS) introduced MD2, primarily grown in Mindanao, to six municipalities in Camarines Norte through a project funded by DA-BAR during the prolonged series of lockdowns imposed to curb the spread of the COVID-19. 

Perhaps the most pressing challenge back then, next to the concrete plans on addressing the local transmission of the virus, was the stability and sufficiency of our food supply. One of the many solutions that DA undertook to address this is to ensure that the supply of quality planting materials remains steady and accessible. 

In response, DA-BAR funded various projects to intensify the mass production of quality planting materials through mass propagation techniques and protocols of various high value crops across the country. One of which was the planting materials of pineapple in Camarines Norte. 

On 12 January 2023, project leader Engr. Bella B. Frias of DA-CNLRRS reported the accomplishments of their project on mass propagation of quality planting materials of two pineapple varieties, Queen and MD2, to the DA-BAR monitoring team. 

Nakapag-produce tayo ng 15,000 pieces na macropropagated MD2 variety at 7,000 pieces tissue cultured Queen pineapple. Nakapagpagawa tayo ng nursery para sa ating planting materials, nakapag-develop at nakapag-imprenta ng 500 pieces na IEC materials [ukol sa] technology transfer,” she said. 

Nakapag-conduct ng anim na training  mula sa pag-produce ng planting materials, pineapple production, financial viability hanggang sa pagma-market ng pinya. Nakapag-establish na rin tayo ng technology demonstration [farms] sa atin mga beneficiaries na sampung farmers at dalawang kooperatiba,” she further added. 

Beneficiaries of the projects are the Labo Progressive Multipurpose Cooperative and Camarines Norte Primary Cooperative, as well as two individual farmers in Mercedes, three in San Lorenzo Ruiz, two in San Vicente, and three in Basud. 

A tripartite Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between DA-Bicol Region, local government units (LGU), and farmer cooperatives stating their duties and responsibility for the sustainability of the project will be done. 

Stipulated in the MOA is the roll over scheme wherein farmer-beneficiaries will return a corresponding number of planting materials per received pineapple suckers. These suckers will be given to other interested pineapple growers to ensure the availability and security of the quality planting materials. The collection of this repayment will be facilitated by the corresponding LGU where the site has been established. 

DA-CNLRRS will continuously produce quality planting materials on station to ensure the availability of the planting materials to be given to interested growers. (### Rena S. Hermoso)