Farmers’ role in popularising, marketing jackfruit lauded

May 19, 2015 12:00 am | Updated 06:02 am IST - PATHANAMTHITTA:

Veteran agricultural journalist Shree Padre sees good market for jackfruit products.

Veteran agricultural journalist Shree Padre sees good market for jackfruit products.

“Jackfruit and its value-added products have started stealing the show at various food festivals, thanks to the collective initiatives of peasants. However, the governments continue their habitual indifference to promoting this tropical fruit with immense nutritional value and market potential,” says Shree Padre, veteran agricultural journalist and editor of the Kannada agricultural magazine, Adike Patrika , written by farmers for farmers.

Talking to The Hindu during his visit to Aranmula to attend the ongoing National Jackfruit Festival-2015, Mr. Padre, who had pioneered a mass movement against Kerala’s endosulfan tragedy in the 1990s, said the present wave in favour of jackfruit and its value-added products was purely farmer-induced.

Real value

According to him, this wave is sure to pick up momentum as people have already started realising the real value of the fruit. Peasants in Karnataka, Maharashtra, Odisha, and certain parts of Tamil Nadu have started growing jack tree as a plantation crop and a number of exclusive jackfruit orchards are coming up in many parts of these States and certain parts of north Kerala.

Mr. Padre, who has been campaigning for jackfruit promotion for more than a decade, said the absence of modern machinery for cutting and peeling, lack of expertise to grade the fruits and to make out the ‘Koozha’ variety from the table fruit variety of ‘Varikka’ are the challenges facing the jackfruit industry.

Mr. Padre said the small taluk of Panruti in Cuddalore district of Tamil Nadu is a jackfruit paradise. Despite a large presence of jack trees across the State, Kerala could not be considered as the largest producer of jackfruit in India.

The farmers in Panruti and Toopukere in Tamil Nadu were getting very good returns from jackfruits. Kerala too could prosper by setting up supply chains linking these two places where jackfruit is available throughout the year, he said.

According to him, jackfruit has got a very good indigestible dietary fibre which act as a bottlebrush in the intestine. It is rich in vitamins and its low glycemic index helps the diabetics to bring down their insulin intake. Jackfruit is fast replacing soya as a ‘dummy meat’ in many Indian cities. Mr. Padre sees a very good market for jackfruit products in Kerala.

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