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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

‘Thinning’: Panruti’s Unique‘Population Control’ Technique

Panruti taluk in Cuddalore district of Tamilnadu has many unique aspects in Jackfruit cultivation. Most outstanding out of these is the presence of pure JF plantations. Monoculture jack orchards here range from one acre to twenty acres.

Thinning of inflorescence is a simple, but important farmer practice probably not practiced elsewhere in the country. Here, almost all farmers follow it.

Jack tree is monoecious. That means both female and male inflorescences are found in the same tree. Active buds of female inflorescence appear mostly on trunks and branches. Emergence of female inflorescences followed by male inflorescences in single peduncle is common.

Male inflorescence (catkin) shows protrusion of anthers on its spike surface. Between 8.30 and 9.30 in the morning, it sheds pollen. After a few days it dries, turns black and falls down.

In female inflorescence (catkin), stigma would be visible by 8 in the morning from fourth day of its emerging out from the sheath. The pollination and fertilizations are completed within 3- 6 days.

Jackfruit, in reality, is a multiple or composite fruit. It is produced from the ripened ovaries of several flowers crowed on the female inflorescence.

What is thinning?

Elsewhere in India all the fertilized female inflorescences are allowed to grow. But Panruti farmers retain only selected ones!

Allowing only one healthy female inflorescence / tender fruit per stalk (peduncle) by cutting off the rest is called as ‘thinning.’ This ‘population control’ has some unwritten norms. Based on the age, size of trunk, and canopy area farmers decide the final number of tender fruits to be permitted to grow. Thumb rule is 15-30 numbers for a 15 year old tree. A sharp knife is used for this ‘family planning’ activity.

Thinning is usually done when the first- opened female fruit attains a month’s growth. It will be half to one kilo in weight by this time. Generally this starts in the middle of February and completes in 3-4 weeks.


· Thinning gives uniform shaped quality fruits.

· Assures uniform maturity.

· Number of harvests can be reduced – say in 2-3 harvests, the whole process can be finished.

· Minimizes pest and disease like, fruit borer and fruit rot incidence. This is because the incidence of pest and disease is more in areas where one fruit overlaps the other.

· Balances the size of fruits, number of fruits & health of the tree.

Photo & Text: P. Haridoss, Asst Director of Agriculture, Panruti,

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

GRAMA comes out with new JF products

GRAMA (Group Rural Agricultural Marketing Association), a self-help group of Kottayam farmers have been successful in producing and marketing more than three dozen products from jackfruit.

Located in Bharananganam near Pala, this group is active since the last three years. Their latest products of the fresh season include JF vadi, different types of JF toffees and jackfruit nut balls.

Jack Fruit Vadi

JF Vadi is a custom-made product for a business nit from Savanthwadi. In Goa- Maharashtra area, Mango vadi, a traditional halwa like product is very famous. The business unit wanted to have similar product from jackfruit.

Jack Fruit Toffee

Apart from Jackfruit toffee, GRAMA is producing toffees from Jack seed powder and coconut and also Jack seed and cocoa powder. This is a fast moving product and is popular with children. One shop in Bharananganam, another shop and a super market in Pala keep selling this. “At present since most of the process is hand-made, it is laborious to produce. But there is very good market. So much so that whatever we produce gets sold immediately. With suitable machineries and better packing, it can be made consistent and attractive”, hopes GRAMA president Joseph Lukose. He says lot of creative modifications is possible in toffee like spicy, jeera etc.

Jack Fruit Nut-ball

Jackfruit nut-ball is an interesting product for the oncoming JF season. This one apart from dehydrated JF has groundnut and coconut as ingredients. “We can add cashew nut or any other nuts or gingelly as per customers liking, but cost factor would vary”, points out Joseph Lukose.

Unlike other value adders, GRAMA produces products that are locally saleable, thus reducing the marketing cost by minimizing transport expenditure. According to Joseph, “One more point we give importance is that any value added product of Jackfruit should have a higher percentage of jackfruit rather than being as a name-same ingredient.” What’s more, GRAMA goes on doing R & D in jackfruit value addition.

Contact: Thomas97455 55107

Monday, February 14, 2011

“Jackfruit, another Kalpavruksha”

We are fully convinced that Jackfruit is another Kalpavruksha”, exclaimed Suresh Uthaman, secretary, Siddhartha Central School of Kollam, Kerala. He was speaking at the closing ceremony of the School Science Fest, of which Jack Fest was the main attraction. Jack fest was conducted on 15th and 16th of January.

It is first time a school has been hosting Jackfruit festival. “A school should have social commitment too. What the society requires, that should be in school curriculum”, opines principal K.Hari.

C.D.Suneesh, K.G. Balan and A.P.Anilkumar of Ruchi Wayanad taught the local housewives, members of Kutumbashree to make different products from Jackfruit. Sip-up was a product that was instant hit with the school children.

“Not that we knew making recipes from Jackfruit. But what we learnt in the training is that no part from jackfruit needs to be thrown. We have made mixture, bajji etc from even the outer rind that is generally fed to cows” Lakskmikutti, a trainee points out.

Local Nedumpana Panchayath has considerable ‘women power’ in the form of 4,650 kutumbashree members. The trainees are hopeful to take up value-addition of jackfruit in an organized way.

As part of the Jack-fest, Shree Padre, Editor of Kannada farm monthly Adike Patrike gave an informative slide-show on ensuring local food security through jackfruit utilization. He also highlighted umpteen varieties of value additions being made in the world over, especially in Vietnam and Malaysia.

Kollam district is blessed with good jackfruit production, out of which 70 per cent is koozha chakka (soft-fleshed type). Lions-share of the jackfruit, including whole lot of koozhachakka goes rotten here.

Pix and text by Adike Patrike

Memories of first Jack Fest

‘Uravu’ – a Kerala organization from Wayanad district that has been popularizing bamboo and its handicrafts is pioneer in recognizing the latent importance of Jackfruit as well.

In 2006, they conducted Jackfruit festival that is the first such event in not only in south, but in whole of India. Different value added products were made then and there.

One important feature of Uravu Jack fairs that became a regular feature thereafter is participation of the local communities. This year Uravu shifted its 5th Jack Fair to nearby Kalpetta town on public demand.

In the Jack Fest 2008 Uravu showcased more than 100 value added products of Jack fruit. This eventually found a mention in the Limca Book of World Records.

Contact :

Contributed by Adike Patrike;

Photos : Ravishankar Doddamani

Flex-boards lend color to Jack Fest

Tell-tale pix of Jackfruit value addition and development, portrayed through flex-boards was one of the highlights of recently conducted Jack Fest at Siddhartha CentralSchool, Kollam, Kerala, India.

This very impressive idea can be adopted by future fests to pass over important messages to Viewers.

Pics by Shree Padre

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Queen of Jackfruit Recipes: Geethakka

This Karnataka housewife can make 300 Jackfruit products!

How many recipes can anyone make from world’s biggest fruit – the Jackfruit?

We don’t know. But what we can vouch is that Geetha Narasimha Bhat (46) of Sagar, Karnataka – Geethakka for her closer circle - can make well over – hold your breath – three hundred!

Born in a GSB (Gowda Saraswath Brahmin) family of Hebri near Udupi, she grew up eating jackfruit in different ways. Her mother Sushilabai knew a lot of recipes. GSB, as a community is very fond of Jackfruits.

After her marriage to a farming family of Sagar 22 years ago, Geetha continued this tradition. Though she made many traditional recipes and many more of her creations, she never counted the number of recipes she knew until an interesting incident.

It was about eight years ago. Activists of Krushi Prayoga Parivara, a local NGO had visited her. Amidst talks, those youngsters threw a friendly challenge to Geetha. They wanted to see how many recipes she could do for that day’s lunch.

It was ten in the morning. The plantain leaf on which lunch was served three hours later was full with jack preparations. One youngster exclaimed: “Geethakka, there are 37 items!”

A team from ETV – Kannada visited her and shot her preparing jackfruit recipes for three days continuously. It was second time when she was made to count her recipes – It was 130! The programme that was telecast for two weeks had demonstrated 45 to 50 recipes.

Leading Kannada weekly, Tharanga asked her to write all these. She submitted 220 items – out of which the magazine chose to publish 110.

Thereafter she started writing all her recipes. She has already written 250. If you ask Geethakka which one of her recipes are her favorites, she can’t pinpoint any. “Each one has a different taste”, replies she, “It is only jackfruit that permits you to cook in amazingly diverse ways.”

In Jackfruit season that lasts for four months – March to June – very few days pass without making jackfruit cooking. “If I cut a jackfruit, I make something out of it for breakfast, 2-3 curries to go with lunch and one more snack for the evening coffee”, she points out. Though she doesn’t count, each year she must be making at least hundred different items from jackfruit for her family to eat!

Unfortunately, though they are farmers’ Geethakka doesn’t have a yielding jackfruit tree till now. Every year she plants a few, but monkeys and wild boars destroy it. Now, two plants have grown into trees, but they are yet to yield.

During the season, her brother brings a few jackfruits from Hebri. Neighbors present her with another few. “Still, if I had my own fruits, I would have utilized it more”, she regrets.

Her daughter Shobha, now studying in 1st year Bcom also knows almost all these recipes. Shobha does some more experimentation of hers. All three children – sons Vinayaka Bhat & Yogesh Bhat and Shobha are fond of jackfruit. Whenever mother plans to cook something, they too join hands by helping.

Geethakka has given demonstration of her cooking in a few Jack Festivals in Sirsi, Thirthahalli etc. There are more invitations. But due to her family commitments, she is not able to travel far. Mamatha Bhat, a Sirsi housewife has learnt to make hundreds of jackfruit products from this recipe queen.

It would have been a great contribution to the society if Geethakka’s Jackfruit recipes are published in all south Indian languages and in English. Unfortunately this idea has not stuck to any publisher or organizations so far!

Contributed by: Espi -

Smt Geetha N Bhat: (08183) 231950 (9 to 10 pm only)

Mandyuru - This JF tree that rests for only 1.5 months!

If we search intensely, we might chance upon many all season jackfruit varieties in Kerala and Karnataka! One recent indication of this is a rare tree in Karnataka that bears round the year, except for six weeks.

The rare tree belongs to Mandyuru Shankara Bhat, an arecanut farmer of Buntwal taluk. Fruits of this 60 year old tree are very small, of the size of a big coconut. Weighing around two kilos, it is fully filled with about 30 – 35 fruitlets. Flakes are medium firm, medium yellow in colour, but are very sweet and have a very attractive flavor.

Now in February beginning, it has lots of tender jackfruits. Yielding lasts till November. “There is only one hand half months of no yield time for this tree”, says son Ganesh Bhat, “this year the yield is less. Otherwise the stem remains fully covered by fruits from all sides.” He estimates the total annual yield at 2,000 fruits.

The fruit is not only for table purpose. According to this farming family, it is good for making chips, dosa, stir fry etc. Since Bhats have about 50 jackfruit trees, they use the fruits from this tree only rarely. “Neighbors ask and take a few. Yet others in monsoon falls to the stream on the banks of which this tree is located”, points out Ganesh.

Compared to the highly priced vegetables that more often than not contain pesticide residues, jackfruit offers a food resource that can be used as vegetable or in curries or other numerous value added forms. Which other tree offers one to two tonnes of food per annum sans any care or treatment?

All season jackfruit trees would contribute considerably towards local food security. It is high time we identify, document the main features and mass propagate such trees.

Contact: (08255) 205 566

Contributed by Yespee

Clue: Pathanadka Susheela Bhat