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Benefits of jackfruit know no bounds: KVK scientist
By our Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, August 5: “From entrepreneurs to consumers jackfruit has a host of benefits,” feels senior scientist and head of ICAR’s Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK), Kerala Dr CP Robert.
Dr Robert was in the region in connection with the recent NE Jackfruit Festival organized in the city by the Indian Institute of Entrepreneurship (IIE) and the Meghalaya Institute of Entrepreneurship (MIE).
According to Dr. Robert, the Northeast is a hub of jackfruit, but over 50 per cent of the ‘heavenly fruit’ is wasted in the region. Associated with NEHU a few years back, Dr. Robert, talking to The Sentinel, said: “Meghalaya also meets the same fate as Assam, so do other states in the region”.
“Meghalaya has 4-5 lakh jackfruit trees on 47,000 hectares of land. The State suffers around Rs 430-crore revenue loss from jackfruits that go waste. The entire Northeast has over Rs. 25 lakh jackfruit trees. So, it can be surmised that the region is losing over Rs. 5,000 crore revenue from the fruit that go waste,” Robert said, and added: “The region is losing an additiol Rs. 10-15 crore in the form of value-added products that could be made from jackfruit. It is also called poor man’s fruit. As it is widely available in rural areas, it can give the rural economy a boost through its value-added products. It has enough capability to strengthen the economy, it being an entrepreneur’s choice. The good thing about jackfruit in the Northeast is if its season ends in one region the season starts in another region. It is available the whole year in the Northeast.”
“As is the case in Kerala, unemployed youths in Assam and other States in the region can gear up for small units for making value-added products from the jackfruit. We have 10-15 such local units in Kerala. People associated with the units have started to be self-sustaining,” Dr. Robert said.
Laying stress on the role of the government in this field, Dr. Robert said that the governments in the region should set up the market and initiate the marketing process. “Packaging and branding are the challenges that entrepreneurs face. People have to come up with attractive and innovative ways in so far as packaging and branding is concerned. The governments have to make the technologies available in the specific states. If some are interested in the grinded form of jackfruits, others may be interested in the chip form in so far as value-added products are concerned. Land survey is important as hilly soil is different from the soil of the plains. Variation in soil quality leads to variation in the varieties of the pulp of the fruit. Farmers will be benefited if they earn Rs. 10-15 a kilogram of jackfruit.”
According to Robert, Jackfruit has the ability to replace apple in so far as its nutrition, fibre quantity and cost are concerned. “Jackfruit has low Glycemic Index (GI). GI in a person remains stable if he starts eating jackfruit which in turn is helpful to fight diabetes. The seed is rich in protein and the grinded form is beneficial to women and children. The value-added products can be consumed as supplementary food,” he further said.
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