Insight Focus

Thailand’s pineapple industry struggled with reduced yields and quality due to El Nino. Excessive fertilizer use heightened nitrate levels, posing processing risks. Recent rainfall brings hope for recovery, despite delays.

In late Q1 we wrote that pineapple in Thailand had performed poorly due to the impact of hot weather from the El Nino effect. Prolonged periods of high temperatures and less rainfall have negatively affected pineapple cultivation, leading to reduced fruit yields.

Factory faces problem with the delivered fruit from farmers

Thailand is currently facing a shortage of pineapple supply due to dry weather. As a result, prices are high. Currently the price of pineapple in the domestic market is at around 11-12 THB/kg, we expect the price will keep increasing in Q3 up to 13-14 THB/kg due to these reasons. 

Farmers have been applying high levels of fertilizer to try to boost yields, but in doing so may have inadvertently increased the nitrate levels of the fruit. We understand that some recent shipments of Thai pineapple to the EU were rejected due to high nitrate levels.

Crop recovered from the rain

Positively Thailand has been receiving rain in early May, with an average of 140mm (-45%YoY) of rainfall across the country, especially in the Central and Eastern area where most of pineapple in Thailand are grown. We expect pineapple will be able to recover after a few weeks of rainfalls in May. Potentially it can improve yields when the expected rain in Q3 arrives.

Competition in Export Market

Thailand is one of the world’s key pineapple suppliers but currently in short supply. This means some consumers may need to switch to other origins:

  • Costa Rica: Known as the world’s largest pineapple producer, offering sweet, juicy, and low-acid tropical pineapples.
  • Hawaii: Produces exceptional quality pineapples, including the renowned Maui Gold variety known for its super sweet and juicy flavor, and the Smooth Cayenne variety with a balanced flavor profile.
  • The Philippines: A leading exporter of pineapples globally, producing the Formosa pineapple with an extra-sweet flavor and delicate texture.
  • Brazil: Known for the Abacaxi variety, which is sweet and juicy.
  • Antigua and Barbuda: Home to the Antiguan black pineapple, renowned for its sweetness and low acidic content.
  • Puerto Rico: Known for the Red Spanish pineapple variety, praised for its sweetness with sour undertones.
  • India: The northeastern region and Kerala are known for varieties like Kew, Queen, and a sweet variety in Vazhakulam village.

These regions each offer unique pineapple varieties, ranging in flavor profiles from sweet and low-acid to more acidic, catering to various preferences.

Kanjanaporn Dechwan

Kanjanaporn (Atom) joined Czarnikow’s analysis team mid-2022, she graduated with a degree of Agriculture from Thailand (previously explored Food science and Technology & Agriculture for 6 months as an intern in Japan). Before joining Czarnikow, Atom began her career in the entertainment industry and is now responsible for Czapp content from Thailand, Crop production data and other market analysis such as Sugarcane, Grain, Cassava etc.

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