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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

‘Kos Mama’ termed it as “Tree of Rice’

Arthur Vincent Dias (1886 – 1960), was a philanthropist, and an independence activist of Srilanka (then known as Ceylon). A planter by profession, he is better known as ‘Kos Mama’ (Uncle Jack). He earned this name for his jackfruit propagation campaign he pioneered throughout Srilanka.

It was as early as 1918 that Dias started the jackfruit propagation campaign. His aim was to plant a million jackfruit trees. He went from village to village popularizing his strategy for sustained food security.

Whenever he visited someone or someone came to him, that person would invariably receive a jack sapling or jack seeds as a gift. He promoted the jack tree as the ‘bat gasa’ (tree of rice). He brought a Malaysian variety of jackfruit that bore fruit in 18 months and popularised it.

Although his campaign mainly focused on distributing jackfruit seedlings, he also distributed other plants such as papaw, mango, sapodilla, durian and golden apple.

It is no wonder that Arthur V Dias is even today affectionately remembered in Srilanka.

Contributed by Yespee

(Source: Wikipedia,

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Unique JF fresh fruit packing

Desaru Fruit Farm (DFF) is a famous commercial fruit orchard of Malaysia ( that runs an agri tourism venture. It also sells fresh fruits and fruit products to visitors. In their 100 acre farm, they have 30 to 40 Jackfruit trees.

The way in which DFF offers fresh Jackfruit to buyers is unique. Because lot of families comes there, they make the fresh fruit packs bigger. About 20-25 cleaned fruit lets are kept on the thick rind of the same fruit before covering it with cling film. Buyers like frits offered in its own original nature’s packing!

Such JF packets are priced at RM 6 per Kg. (Ringgit is Malaysian dollar almost equivalent of Rs10). Price for the whole JF here is RM 3 per Kg.

DFF also offers packets containing red and yellow jack fruit lets in the same pack. So, the buyers can have taste of both the types of fruits.

We noticed these smaller cling film packets sold at DFF were extremely tasty. But somehow the whole fruits we brought home from there were just ok. This might be just a coincidence. Or is it a clever marketing strategy?

Pix & Text – Divya Rajesh

Count Jackfruit trees: Karnataka High Court

The Karnataka High Court directed the Tahsildar of Kolar to inspect the jackfruit groove near Tamaka and enumerate the number of such trees and file a report in two weeks.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice J.S. Khehar and Justice A.S. Bopanna passed the order in public interest litigation (PIL) petition by H.D. Suresh Gowda and two other residents of Kolar.

The petitioners said that they are concerned over the action of the authorities in shifting the College of Horticulture from Kolar to Tamaka. They said that any construction would affect the groove which is home to the world's best jackfruits. Save the jackfruit trees, the residents had pleaded with the High Court. The petitioners said that their main objection is not to the college but to the decision to fell the trees.

( Source : The Hindu, 11th Feb 2011,

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Kanakakunnu Wonder

General indication from South Kerala is that Jackfruit yield is low this year.

But this tree from near Kanakakunnu Palace in Thiruvanathapuram Kerala seems to be an exception to that. What a bountiful yield!

Think for a moment about such big jackfruit trees. Very few trees can provide us one to two tonnes of food almost every year!

Photo by : Suneesh CD Chittilapalli

Monday, March 14, 2011

Tonnes of Vegetable go wasted

February – March is thinning season for Jackfruit in Panruti. (Read my earlier story in this blog on ‘thinning.’)

Dozens of ‘pinju’ (tender or green JF in Tamil) are cut of from each tree. Poor villagers, after taking permission from farmers, collect a head-load of this and sell it in local market. But this will constitute less than 10 per cent of the cut out tender jacks.

Panruti (in Cuddalore district of Tamilnadu) has more than 1000 hectares under jack. A considerable portion of this are monoculture orchards (with JF as pure plantation) ranging from one to twenty acres.

Tender Jackfruit is a very tasty vegetable. Local farmers have never considered these tender jackfruits as an income generating resource. As per a rough estimate, a minimum of 1,000 tonnes of these green jackfruits get unutilized and rotten under the jackfruit trees.

During this time, in cities like Chennai – Chennai is only 180 kilometers away – such tender Jackfruits are in great demand. It sells for Rs 20 a kilo. If only Panruti farmers take a little more efforts, they can earn enough to meet the expenses of fertilizer requirements of these jackfruit trees.

Tender Jackfruit is a very tasty vegetable. Dozens of delicious curries can be made from this by adding chillies or jaggery or spices. Rich in many nutrients, minerals and dry matter, it has good percent of fibers too. It is considered ideal food for diabetic and BP patients. With the diverse variety of curries possible from this, Tender JF can be daily food supplement.

Allowing such a valuable vegetable to rot is really unfortunate. There is a simple, low-cost method of preserving this brine. Even if some local SHG’s can do it with good hygiene and care, it can be sold to jack lovers elsewhere. It can be used as a vegetable during off-season.

We have bright examples of green jackfruit utilization in our neighboring country Srilanka. Pinju is called as Polos in Sinhala language. Polos curry is a very famous Srilankan dish and is available in most of the restaurants there. Not only that, they export ‘ready to use’ Tender Jackfruit curries in bottles and tins to US, Australia and other countries.It needs awareness on utilization & attention for marketing as fresh and preserved.

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