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Jackfruit Symbol of New Snacks - Papads, Chips and Halwa

Towards the Thinking of Doubling the Farmers Income, the emphasis is on the value addition the produce of the farmer. May be fruits & vegetables. This time the jackfruit. The fruit is costing Rs.29 a Kilo and the value added products are giving the good returns. The jackfruit is traditional vegetable mostly seen in the kitchens.

Now you can eat the snacks and relish the taste apart from benefitting the health also. Jackfruit is a topical fruit which is native to south India. It has a distinctive sweet flavour and can be used in a variety of dishes. It belongs to the Moraceae plant family, which also includes fruits like mulberry, breadfruit and figs. One of the very unique aspects of jackfruit is its unusually large size, because of which it is popular as the largest tree fruit in the world. The fruity flavour of jackfruit is very similar to the flavour of a combination of fruits like pineapples, mangoes, apples and bananas. The fruit is often used as a meat substitute by vegans and vegetarians because of its texture. It is the flesh or fruit pods of jackfruit which is most widely consumed. It can be used in sweet and savoury dishes including desserts and curries. The seeds of jackfruit can also be consumed. Agrees celebrity nutritionist Rujuta Diwekar who informs that the jackfruit is a great booster of fertility. She recently took to Facebook to share the numerous health benefits of jackfruit. She went live on Facebook to share that jackfruit is helpful in building muscles and how almost every part of the fruit can be eaten. This is the reason why she calls jackfruit, the intelligent fruit.

Long ignored in the region, the jackfruit actually lends itself to being transformed into a value-added product or two. However, not much attention is paid to its cultivation by most farmers as it is not the main crop and does not require any work. A farmer producer organization (FPO) in Karnataka’s Dakshina Kannada district is putting the humble jackfruit back on the table.

Often, jackfruit grown in the backyard goes waste; only a few small or micro units in the private sector manufacture value-added products from it in coastal Karnataka.

Now, Pingara Horticulture Farmers’ Producer Company Ltd, located near Vitla town, about 50 km from Mangaluru, is aiming to change that.

K Ramkishor, President of Pingara Horticulture, informed that 1,000 farmers within a 15-km radius of Vitla are members of the FPO, which is supported by the Karnataka Horticulture Department.

He further added that  the FPO members were inspired by the efforts of Shree Padre, a farmer from Kasaragod in Kerala, who has been spreading awareness about the neglected crop’s potential for the last decade-and-a-half.

He said the FPO produces value-added jackfruit products such as Papads, finger chips and Halwa.

The Pingara FPO has the capacity to process around 400 kg of raw jackfruit a day. This can go up to 600-700 kg a day, though sustaining it in the off-season is difficult as the FPO employs 18 people, mostly women, he said.

The FPO prepares around 1,000 pieces of Papad and 5 kg of chips a day. It produces around 50 kg of jackfruit Halwa in a week. It is also working on a kind of jackfruit payasam and hopes to market the product soon.

Ramkishor also added that  the FPO collects raw jackfruit from farmers’ doorsteps. Some also deliver the fruit to the FPO. The farmers are offered 2 a kg if the jackfruit is collected. Those who deliver the jackfruit to the FPO are paid 4 a kg.

Pingara also takes up the manufacture of value-added banana products in the off-season to sustain its activities. In addition, it also provides agri implements on hire to farmers.

Production is limited to the period between April and September. Keeping the requirements of jackfruit during the off-season in mind, some raw jackfruits are kept in brine to prepare products such as Papads.

The Karnataka Horticulture Department has provided a 90 percent subsidy on the cost of the equipment to produce value-added jackfruit products.

 

Chander Mohan

Krishi Jagran/New Delhi



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