Though other countries may dabble in cultivation of what is known here as the Antigua Black, it is only in the country whose name it bears that the distinctive taste and other premium features of this unique pineapple variety truly come into their own.
Those are not the sentiments of some predictable agricultural jingo, but the views of Don Charles, general manager of the Antigua and Barbuda Development Bank.
He believes the country “should really focus on branding Antigua Black as the premiere pineapple existing in the world.”
Said Charles to The Daily OBSERVER on Tuesday: “That’s what it’s known for – the world’s sweetest pineapple. Quite frankly the Antigua Black Pineapple (ABP) is superior to that of other countries and it has to do with soil type and the amount of rainfall which allows the sugar content to be much higher. In the other islands that have more rain, the actual sugar content or concentration is watered down as a result of the increased rainfall.”
Charles was commenting on an invitation by a recently formed Pineapple Growers Association in St Lucia, which is offering membership and collaboration to pineapple-growing regional counterparts.
“While we can co-operate, we need to brand Antigua Black as the sweetest pineapple in the world, and ensure that this brand is protected and promoted around the world.”
Charles thinks this will guarantee the ABP a protected niche market, wherein it will enjoy a rating “superior to the other volume pineapples.”
Charles disclosed that, “A paper was prepared on the need to register the Antigua Black trade mark by Lori Freeland Roberts, pioneer of copyright here in Antigua. It was submitted to the Ministry of Agriculture. They have reviewed it and in principle agreed that it should be registered.”
Originally, he said, the intention had been to register under the Antigua Black Co-operative, “but rather than have one entity having the rights to that registration, it’s going to be registered under an Antigua Black Association which will allow all persons in Antigua who produce Antigua Black under specific guidelines to brand the product.”
Charles said the co-operative would like the process completed in the next two months in order to protect the premium niche markets in which the Antigua Black Pineapple has already gained a foothold.
The Development Bank is facilitating the branding project in association with the Royal Norwegian Society for Development, which is helping to enlist a top supermarket chain to distribute Antigua Black Pineapple exports in that country.