Guwahati: Jackolates (chocolates made from Jackfruit), Jackfruit Chunks, and Jackfruit Tikki! Sounds strange, right? But be ready to believe it. The round, sweet, and yummy fruit is now coming in new mouthwatering shapes and forms to conquer your taste buds, thanks to two young entrepreneurs from Meghalaya.
Meghalaya Institute of Entrepreneurship graduates -- Dasumarlin Majaw of the Smoky Falls Tribe, and Vijay Brysat of Bee Naturals -- have recently launched a series of delicacies out of jackfruit that will make your mouths water.
For these two budding entrepreneurs, jackfruit was not a random selection as Shillong is home to acres of jackfruit farming. "Eleven thousand metric tonnes of jackfruit are wasted each year, we found after research. There was no second thought on utilizing this gift of nature," says Vijay. Dasumarlin also feels the same, "It is wasted. Every year it's the same."
Quite surprisingly, despite having vast areas of jackfruit yield, many farmers are earning from jackfruit for the first time. "They have never used jackfruit as food or fruit," adds Dasumarlin. Cost-effectiveness, protein-vitamin content, and non-requirement of any pesticide use are the other added advantages. "Though the idea of converting jackfruit seeds into chocolate has struck the world already, using tender jackfruit is a novel concept. Also, our '100% natural' practice is going to be one of its kind," remarks Vijay proudly.
The jackfruits for these products are produced from the Southern slopes of Cherapunjee, Shella, Pynursla, East Khasi Hills, and the Garo hills.
Apart from bringing the fruit to the dining tables, this innovation is aimed to capitalize on Meghalaya's and North East India's huge untapped reserves of jackfruit as well as improve the livelihoods of thousands of jackfruit farmers in the state. The project also eyes the international markets for export.
The state government has always been enthusiastic about jackfruit production in the state. In fact, Meghalaya was one of the first states to introduce a project, Mission Jackfruit in 2018, exclusively concentrating on improving the production of jackfruits. Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma expressed his happiness by sharing a post on Facebook appreciating the efforts of the two young entrepreneurs of the state. "Today is a new chapter in the food processing history of Meghalaya," he wrote.
Both Dasumarlin and Vijay are planning for more diverse projects in the coming days. Dasumarlin is a recipient of the Chief Minister's Entrepreneur of the Month Award and Vijay's Bee Natural won the SIAL Gold Innovation Award in 2019, for naturally infused honey.