Agri Business

Jackfruit revival bears fruit

A.J. Vinayak Mangalore | Updated on November 15, 2017

Identifying market: A farmer singles out jackfruit pieces from a bunch fordisplay at a jackfruit fest in Kerala’s Kasaragod district. — A.J. Vinayak

RISING INTEREST IN KARNATAKA, KERALA



Jackfruit, which has remained a neglected crop all these years, is now on the revival path with farmers showing interest in exploring its potential.

The trend of revival is visible in the number of jackfruit fairs being held in various villages and towns of Kerala and Karnataka. Keeping the potential of the crop in mind, some farmers are even planning exclusive jackfruit plantations in these States.

Mr Shree Padre, a progressive farmer and expert in rainwater harvesting, told Business Line that all initiatives on exploring the potential of jackfruit have taken place from farmers at the grassroots level, and not from official machinery.

Local fests catching on

According to him, the revival process started with a jackfruit festival at Wayanad in Kerala in 2006. Following this, over three dozens of fests have been conducted in various villages and towns of Kerala and Karnataka, he said. Recently a national-level jackfruit festival was conducted in Thiruvananthapuram.

On Sunday (June 19), some farmers at Meeyapadavu (a small village on the northern most part of Kerala adjoining Karnataka) organised one such jackfruit fest to identify the best varieties in their vicinity and develop them. Of the 1,000 population in that area, 45 farmers participated in the fest to judge the quality of the variety they grow.

Dr D.C. Chowta, a progressive farmer from Meeyapadavu and organiser of the fest, said that there is renewed focus on exploring the potential of jackfruit among farmers now. Though being a low-key affair, the fest attracted good number of participation, he said.

While a good number of farmers from the nearby villages were eager to know about value-addition to the crop, some others sought information on growing off-season varieties.

A farmer, who has been supplying unripe jackfruits for producer of chips in Mangalore, explained how he benefited from the crop.

Stating that jackfruit can provide an answer to food security, he said it has about four levels of maturity — tender, slightly grown, unripe and ripe. The first three stages can be used as vegetable. The fourth stage has many value-addition possibilities such as desserts, squash, pulp and so on, he said. Added to this, the tree remains for centuries and offers valuable timber when grown.

Mr Venkatakrishna Sharma, a farmer from Alike village in Dakshina Kannada district, said that he has already planted nearly 75 saplings of 23 varieties of jackfruit in an acre. Plans are afoot to plant it in another two acres, he said. Some other farmers in the district are also planning exclusive jackfruit plantations on their lands, he added.

Mr Anil Kumar, who runs a nursery in Puttur taluk of Dakshina Kannada district, said he is now getting more enquiries for grafted varieties of jackfruit.

Though no official statistics are available on the area of crop and production, a fact sheet published by International Centre for Underutilised Crops in 2003 says that the total area under jackfruit cultivation is approximately at 26,000 hectares with trees grown in backyards and as inter-crops amongst other commercial crops in southern India.

Published on June 22, 2011

Follow us on Telegram, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Linkedin. You can also download our Android App or IOS App.

null
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

You May Also Like