Jackfruit brings the sweet smell of success to these farmers

Women workers preparing jackfruit chips at the ‘Pingara’ unit at Vitla in Dakshina Kannada district.   | Photo Credit: H.S. Manjunath

Tens of thousands of jackfruits that grow naturally on the countryside go to waste without an organised marketing network. Tapping into this opportunity, some farmers in Vitla are now manufacturing and marketing value-added products of jackfruit under the brand name ‘Pingara’ through a company they have floated.

The company picks up raw jackfruit from the doorstep of farmers by paying ₹2 a kg. If the farmers bring it to the manufacturing unit at Kallakatta, on the outskirts of Vitla town, they get ₹4 a kg.

In all, 1,000 farmers from 15 villages within a radius of 15 km have invested ₹1,000 each as their share capital in the company. All of them are arecanut growers whose farmlands have naturally-grown jackfruit trees. Some of them have now begun planting jackfruit seedlings as border-planting crop.

Though the company came into being in 2016, production and marketing of jackfruit products started only recently. As jackfruit is a seasonal crop, the company can make value-added products from April to September, also using brined jackfruit bulbs. “We have begun making banana chips and banana halwa to sustain the manufacturing unit with 20 workers, mostly women, throughout the year when it is off-season for the fruit,” said K. Rama Kishore, president of Pingara Horticulture Farmers’ Producer Company Ltd. He said it was the first farmers’ producer company in Karnataka that has taken up production of value-added products of jackfruit.

The government, through the Horticulture Department, has provided ₹14.5 lakh as machinery cost to the company. A major impediment in boosting production is non-availability of customised machines for processing and post-production of products, particularly for jackfruit, said Mr. Kishore. “Our intention is not only to create a market for the existing jackfruit, but also to make farmers cultivate it as a an alternative to arecanut,” he said. The company also rents out farm implements to farmers from the funds allocated by the government, which is ₹22.5 lakh for implements and ₹15 lakh as working capital, he said.

A quick payasa

Want to taste jackfruit payasa without taking the trouble of peeling the fruit? Pingara Horticulture Farmers’ Producer Company Ltd. has brought out a ready-to-cook product named Beratti that looks like halwa.

“Mix it with hot water and add some desiccated coconut. The payasam is ready,” said K. Rama Kishore, president of the company, suggesting that one should also throw in a few cashew nuts and raisins.

The other value-added products of jackfruit the firm makes are ‘maambala’ (dried fruit pulp), happala, chips ,and halwa. “We have plans to make pulp, which is in great demand with ice cream manufacturers,” Mr. Kishore said.

The company is now experimenting with the production of jackfruit seed powder which can be mixed with dosa and idli.

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Printable version | May 7, 2021 8:38:32 AM |

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