Mangalore/Udipi, May 14: Though the coastal Karnataka is known for its fine breed of jackfruits, farmers here are watching them rot in their backyard as the demand for the fruit is far less than the production. Jackfruit has failed to get its rightful place in the market as well as on the dining table as the horticulture department has not shown much interest in promoting the crop.
In neighbouring states like Kerala and Pondicherry, jackfruits farmers get the support of the state governments by the way of subsidized fertilizers and pesticides. There the fruit is neatly packed and sold for better price. While in Kerala, the price for one kilogram of jackfruit varies from Rs 20 to 60, in the state it never crossed Rs 8 per kg mark. The farmers in Kerala also exploit the demand for jackfruit by-products in overseas.
Noted agriculturist and journalist Shree Padre, who has studied the scope of jackfruits in various markets for five years, opines that if the sweet fruit is sold in a ready to eat manner, it can see better commercial feasibility in the coastal region.
He told that absence of supply chains is another factor that worries farmers in the region. “The government has to create supply chains to help farmers. In Sri Lanka 40 % of the tender jackfruits are used as a substitute for vegetables and there are two dozens of companies involved in processing the fruit in that country. The state horticulture mission and national horticulture mission seem to be ignorant that about 70% of jackfruits are being wasted in this country. North India is a potential market for tender jackfruits where it is rather known as a vegetable,” he added.
In Karnataka, according to the statistics of the horticulture department, there are jackfruits trees in 5,000 hectares. B P Sathish, deputy director of the horticulture department, Udupi. “Not many farmers are showing interest in cultivating jackfruit trees in the district. Most of the jackfruits trees are found in forest areas. If farmers want to make it commercial viable, the department will support them by providing good breed of plants.”