Horticulture Department is doing a survey on the crop in the State
The Horticulture Department has begun a comprehensive survey of the jackfruit crop to set the stage to promote its cultivation in a big way in the State. Jackfruit cultivation is suitable for Karnataka because of the presence of large tracts of drought-prone land.
Horticulture Director D.L. Maheshwar disclosed this at the inaugural session of a two-day international symposium on ‘Jackfruit and breadfruit of the tropics: genetic diversity, management, value addition and marketing strategies’, being jointly organised by the University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore, and the Union Department of Biotechnology, here on Thursday. The survey would look into issues such as the extent of the area covered under jackfruit cultivation, nature of the land on which the crop was being grown, and economic status of growers and their income from the crop. In addition to this, the survey would also try to find out if farmers are growing jackfruit as the main crop or as an intercrop, he said.
The main intention of the survey was to get crucial details, which would help in evolving an efficient plan of action to promote this multipurpose crop, Mr. Maheshwar said.
The department was committed to working on a campaign mode to popularise this crop, he added.
Presently, the crop was being grown on about 5,000 hectares of land in the State, with an annual production of 2,459 tonnes, he said.
The main intention was to turn this underutilised crop into “the crop of the future” as other major horticultural crops such as arecanut and coconut were losing their sheen due to moisture stress and diseases, he said.
UAS, Bangalore, Vice-Chancellor K. Narayana Gowda suggested that the State government set up a jackfruit development board for popularising this crop and use the crop as an economic tool for development, especially because jackfruits worth Rs. 2,000 crore get wasted in the country every year as they are not harvested.
Development Commissioner G.V. Krishna Rau suggested to scientists to conduct research to know if cultivation of jackfruit as the main crop on a large extent would attract any diseases or pests. Kerala Agricultural University Vice-Chancellor P. Rajendra, Adviser to the Union Department of Biotechnology Madhan Mohan and NABARD chief general manager G.R. Chintala also spoke.