The unfiltered love for the delicious ‘Chakkapazham’ (jackfruit) has brought together a team of prospective entrepreneurs in Kerala to tap the potential of this tropical fruit in the country.

They have formed a WhatsApp group Chakkakkoottam . for jackfruit’s better usage and to avoid wastage . The group includes photographers, food and marketing professionals, machinery experts, etc.

They have floated a start-up Chakkakkoottam International Pvt Ltd aiming to ensure wider availability of jackfruit products and create job opportunities.

Monetising wastage

It is estimated that Kerala produces 35 to 60 crore jack fruits every year, out of which less than 10 per cent are converted into value-added products. “Despite the Kerala government declaring jack fruit as the official fruit in 2018, one-third of the fruit went unused,” said Manu Chandran, CEO, Chakkakkootam International Pvt Ltd.

Besides Kerala, it is also cultivated in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Goa, Assam, Tripura, Bihar, and Uttar Pradesh. Due to a lack of organised procurement and processing facilities, even today bulk of the production goes to waste.

Chakkakkoottam shares the details of jackfruit availability, holds meetings, and also arranges visits to places where they are grown.

Varied products produced

Currently, the company produces six varieties of ready-to-eat jackfruit products like raw and ripe fruit fried, dried jackfruit, powder jam and halwa.

Chandran said the fried products are air-fried to avoid oil and ensure better health. He added that the company displayed the products at the recently concluded Vyapar B2B meet organised by the State Industries department in Kochi.

When jackfruit lovers came to know about the group, many from other States and abroad evinced interest in being part of it. Initially, there were around 100 members and now it has gone up to 1,000, he claimed.

Farmers have been convinced about the fruit’s potential and bringing it to the dining table would foster a healthy eating culture.

“The focus will be on the domestic sector first and there are also plans to develop a web-based platform for online marketing,” Chandran added.