Karnataka horticulture dept to promote
jackfruit cultivation, processing
Monday, August 13, 2012
Our Bureau, Bengaluru
The Karnataka horticulture department is now looking at ways to ensure prevention of wastage of jackfruit. In this regard, it will look at food processing companies to develop value-added export products.
According to S A Ravindranath, minister for horticulture and sugar, Government of Karnataka, horticulture/ agriculture department along with farmers groups have to initiate work in identifying and developing district level gene-pools that can produce grafts of jackfruit trees that give excellent fruits in different seasons.
Further, S V Hittalmani, additional director, horticulture (fruits), Government of Karnataka, pointed out that the state had been conducting jackfruit mela to provide farmers and consumers an opportunity to maximise benefits of the fruit.
“Jackfruit is considered as common man’s fruit. In fact, it was this fruit which helped poor to quench their hunger. There is a need to understand the value of jackfruit,” he added.
Explaining further, at a Horticulture Day celebration organised here recently, Shree Padre, an advocator of crop protection, stated, “Jackfruit, often perceived to be an inferior crop, could be the state’s next major export. The fruit, if processed properly, has the potential to earn the state a lot of revenue.”
Padre also highlighted the various initiatives taken across the world in exploiting commercial value of the fruit. The edible parts removed from the whole fruit are being packed and marketed locally.
“The horticulture department needs to further popularise the crop despite jackfruit’s disadvantage of strong scent, size and processing difficulty. But, adoption of modern technology can give it a push,” stated Padre, who has been driving the importance of the fruit to the public.
“The objective of promoting jackfruit is to get an understanding of its wide varieties, and creating a process for documentation, germplasm collection and propagation. “Grafting of the selected trees needs to be done and it will ensure that good varieties of seedlings are made available to farmers during the rainy season,” stated Padre.
Meanwhile, Karnataka has taken up several initiatives like sessions on demonstration of value-added products from jackfruit, ‘Importance of jackfruit’ and ‘Need for constituting jackfruit growers association’ at the jackfruit expos organised annually.
Efforts are also on to help increase the consumption of the fruit as jackfruit farmers across the state have focussed on ready-to-eat and ready-to-cook edible parts, along with marketing the entire fruit. Marketing efforts are also on to ensure that the fruit is acceptable in non-jackfruit-growing states.
The Zilla Panchayat is also preparing Agri Vision 2025 to promote agriculture in the district. The Agri Vision is being prepared with the recommendations of the farmers’ representatives from University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS) and Indian Institute of Horticulture Research. It aims at developing agriculture and its allied sectors and jackfruit is one of the focus areas for development. UAS is also on the lookout for industry partners to transfer the technological know-how of processed jackfruit products.
Jackfruit revival bears fruitA.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.
KVK Jack Fest Mangalore, 23rd & 24th June
VALUE ADDED PRODUCTS FROM JACKFRUIT