Hello, my name is Daniel Pacheco and I am the technical manager for bananas, pineapples and melons here in Central America, in the northern part of South America; where most of the pineapples are produced, here in Costa Rica.
This is one of the best areas for growing pineapples in the country because of its soil, the weather, and because of the people that have been working on this farm for many years; so they have the technology and they have the knowledge to produce a high quality pineapple for us.
The growing process starts with the soil preparation; it needs a lot of machinery. You have to till all the plants again back into the soil to decompose into the soil and return all the nutrients that we have taken out back to the soil so you can replant again in about four or five months.
Then the grower needs to plant the seeds into the soil that they have already picked and selected from the best plantations. After that you have to take care of the crop for almost one year so we can achieve the best quality possible for our customers.
The harvesting process in the pineapples is by section; so the grower knows which section is coming in this week and which section is coming on next week. We agree also the colour that the fruit will be harvested at so the fruit will always arrive in the perfect condition to be sold in your stores.
For packing pineapples you need a pretty advanced pack house that starts with the process of the intake of the fruit and then going to be packed inside. They go through a process; through a sizer that selects each fruit depending on its weight. So we do different packaging and different presentation for our customers. Our suppliers do not waste anything; the pineapples that are rejected because they do not match our quality specs are usually sold for the local market. The fruit that is not sold on the local market is processed as juice or is divided in slices to be canned. Nothing is wasted. We ship to the UK around 100,000 pineapples per week.
Our suppliers are always involved in very important social programmes in the communities around their farms. Pineapples are very important for the Costa Rican economy; they have grown exponentially since the 1990s and have given jobs to more than 25,000 people. It's a very stable job so it's a very good income for the families in our country.