Dial the Jackfruit Van: Uravu team ‘unlocking’ the jackfruit power – Kerala

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National jackfruit fete to unveil a veritable treat

At a time when much is being said about food security, a widely-available fruit that is nutritious and most parts of which can be put to good use in the kitchen, is being totally shunned by Keralites. And it is a tree which could be spotted in every backyard of our houses. It is a little difficult fruit to handle it alright, but the range of products that can be made out of the jackfruit is amazing.

“Countries like Vietnam, Thailand and Sri Lanka, where jackfruits are aplenty, have developed an entire range of value-added products, with excellent marketing facilities too. We should make at least an effort to understand the good uses of a wholesome fruit that we have grown to neglect totally,” says L. Pankajakshan, director of Shantigram, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), that is all set to organise a national jackfruit festival in the city by the end of May. […]

As a precursor to the event, Shantigram had organised a three-day local jackfruit festival at Chapath, Vizhinjam, where scores of women, men and Kudumbasree groups were given training in making value-added products out of jackfruit. The training programme was led by a team from ‘Uravu’, an NGO in Wayanad that has been instrumental in popularising indigenous technologies and crafts by working with local tribes and other marginalised sections of people.

It was the same team from ‘Uravu—led by C.D. Sunish, K.G. Balan and A.P. Anilkumar— that had recently help organise a jackfruit festival in one of the five-star hotels in Kochi. […] Keralites do not seem to think seriously about cultivating jackfruit, hence much of the seasonal fruit goes waste in the State.

But just across the border, at Panruti, in Cuddallore district in Tamil Nadu, large jackfruit orchards thrive under the loving care of farmers, who see the fruit earning them a steady income of Rs.60,000 per acre. The ‘Panruti’ jackfruit, some weighing over 60 to 70 kg each, is quite famous in the markets of Mumbai, where truckloads of the fruit arrive from Panruti. […] The crop proves to involve zero-labour cost, yet brings plentiful harvest, reports say.

Source: National jackfruit fete to unveil a veritable treat, The Hindu, 11 April 2011

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