Two years ago, Meghalaya came out with ‘Mission Jackfruit’ to create livelihood opportunities for rural and urban people by exploring the potential of the fruit that was going waste. The intention then was to create a value chain for jackfruit products and job opportunities in the sector, and to address food security and nutritional issues.

Now, two entrepreneurs from Meghalaya — Dasumarlin Majaw of Smoky Falls Tribe and Vijay Byrsat of Bee Natural — have come out with three different products.

Dasumarlin Majaw has rolled out ‘Jackolate’, a chocolate product made out of jackfruit seeds, and Jack ‘Tikki’. And Vijay Byrsat has come out with tender jackfruit chunks in brine. This canned product has a long shelf-life.

Terming these products as first of their kind in the country, Shree Padre, who is instrumental in creating a movement to popularise the use of jackfruit in the country, told BusinessLine that this development is a moral boosting precedent for the stakeholders in the jackfruit sector.

At a time when many food produces are being wasted, these two entrepreneurs have taken steps to explore the potential of jackfruit on a commercial basis, he said.

Assistance from MIE

BK Sohilya, Director of Meghalaya Institute of Entrepreneurship (MIE), told BusinessLine over phone that Dasumarlin Majaw was more into coffee production and Vijay Byrsat, into honey production.

Apart from providing the idea for the products and highlighting their potential, the MIE, he said, provided training to the entrepreneurs on business development. The institute also facilitated their meetings with experts in the jackfruit sector. These entrepreneurs did their own research and developed the products, he added.

Terming these products as a new chapter in the food processing history of Meghalaya, Conrad K Sangma, Meghalaya Chief Minister, said in a Facebook post on Sunday that Dasumarlin Majaw and Vijay Byrsat are young and dynamic entrepreneurs of Meghalaya.

“Jackolate or chocolate made out of jackfruit seeds and canned jackfruit chunks are the first such products to be produced commercially in India as part of the State's Jackfruit Mission which aims to capitalise on Meghalaya’s and the North East’s huge untapped reserves of jackfruit to improve and enhance the livelihoods of thousands of farmers and generate employment along the value chain,” he said, adding that both entrepreneurs are Master Class graduates of the MIE.

Sohilya said that jackfruit was totally neglected until the State started the Jackfruit Mission. Rough estimates put the production of jackfruit at 10 lakh tonnes per annum in Meghalaya.