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Jackfruit ambassador seeks to put fruit on plate pan-India

AJ Vinayak | | Updated on: Jul 03, 2018
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The Kerala government chose jackfruit as the State’s official fruit in March this year . However, jackfruit is still neglected in many other States.

Shree Padre, who has been creating awareness on the potential of jackfruit as a food crop for more than a decade now, has come out with a 20-point roadmap for the next decade for other States to explore the potential of the fruit.

Padre, who hails from Kasaragod district of Northern Kerala, told BusinessLine that the recent decision of the Kerala government to declare jackfruit as the State’s official fruit has created a nationwide interest in it.

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The roadmap, which will be presented at the jackfruit seminar in Wayanad in Kerala this month, covers areas such as cultivation, processing and consumption, and supply-chain management, among others. (Padre was honoured as the ‘global ambassador of jackfruit’ by the Thiruvananthapuram-based Jackfruit Promotion Council in 2016.)

Gene pools

Stressing the need for the district-level gene pool development of jackfruit in the country, Padre said such gene pools can be attached to the krishi vijnana kendras in each district.

There is a need to identify and promote the cultivation of vegetable varieties of this crop as there is a good demand for tender jackfruit for vegetable and dummy meat purposes. Apart from this, there is a need to identify and cultivate off-season cultivars and all-season varieties. He suggested the establishment of an off-season jackfruit orchard in each State for exhibition and propagation purposes.

Action plan

Highlighting the need to increase the per capita consumption of jackfruit, Padre said an action plan should be prepared to promote the domestic use — both at household level and at industrial level (such as hotels, hostels, food kiosks etc) — in States where the crop is being grown. Campaigns should be conducted in Northern India for the widespread use of ripe jackfruit.

He said ready-to-eat and ready-to-cook formats of jackfruit will help increase the volume of the use of the fruit.

The development of simple devices that can cut the fruit and remove the fruit bulbs with ease should be encouraged, he said, adding efforts should be made to develop such need-based devices to process the fruit.

Supply chain

Focussing on the need to create a farmer-friendly supply chain model for jackfruit, he said the crop should be pooled and made available in select collection centres to ease the transport.

He said each jackfruit-growing State should establish cold storage units and infrastructure for long-distance transport of the fruit in select growing areas. States should encourage cooperatives or private players to develop cold storage units that would buy, process and stock the buffer stock of the crop. Such stocks should be made available to the industries whenever needed.

Research

Padre suggested that Karnataka, which produces most jackfruits in the country, establish a national jackfruit research station.

Priority should be given to basic research and advanced research in the areas such as medicinal benefits of jackfruit and uses of jackfruit and its seed, among others.

Each jackfruit-growing state should have two or three regular jackfruit training-cum-incubation centres, he added.

Kerala Agriculture Minister VS Sunil Kumar had recently stated that jackfruit is more organic and tasty as it is produced in a very natural way without using any chemical fertilisers or pesticides.

Published on July 03, 2018

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