DA plans to triple jackfruit farms
TACLOBAN CITY — The Department of Agriculture (DA) is eyeing to triple the area planted with sweet variety of jackfruit in Eastern Visayas region by 2022, citing the fruit’s unique taste and market potential.
From 1,258 hectares planted with this jackfruit variety, the target is to expand the cultivated areas to 4,409 hectares in the next four years.
Dubbed as Eastern Visayas Integrated Agricultural Research Center (EVIARC) sweet variety, the fruit has its special features such as natural sweetness, thickness of the yellow fruitlet, aromatic, ellipsoid in shape and contains moderate latex, said Department of Agriculture regional field operations division chief Francisco Dayap on Monday.
Experts evaluated the sweet variety for three years, starting in 2004 until 2006 using the standards set by the Fruit Crops Technical Working Group of the National Seed Industry Council.
“Eastern Visayas is one of the jackfruit-producing regions in the Philippines. Aside from the region’s climatic condition, which is favorable for the growth and development of jackfruit, the EVIARC in Abuyog, Leyte has even boosted the region’s reputation with the development of its sweet variety,” Dayap said.
The expanded area will increase the yield of jackfruit from four tons to 30 tons per hectare by 2022, if provided with proper intervention.
The agriculture official is optimistic about hitting the target, considering the support of the national government in the past three years to develop jackfruit as the region’s priority commodity.
“Since this is a priority crop, its development will always be included in our operational plans and budget proposals in the future. There is always specific window for financial support,” Dayap added.
Among the opportunities cited by Dayap are the presence of technical expertise as provided by DA and the Visayas State University, strong partnership between farmers and government agencies, and high demand.
“The development of EVIARC Sweet reflects the region’s goal of being the lead producer of high quality fresh and processed jackfruit in the Philippines, which captures both local and domestic markets by 2022,” Dayap said.
DA has been training farmers who are affiliated with an association to help them expand the market and to increase their production through proper care. The agency has been distributing planting materials and machineries to recipients.
The variety, which bears fruit in three years, is claimed to be the world’s sweetest jackfruit, based on a rating of 25.15 degrees Brix, the international standard for the sugar content of a solution dissolved in water.
It is considered appropriate for addressing the high demand for processed jackfruit because of its distinct sweetness, moderate latex, and thick, highly edible meat that forms almost half of the fruit.
Last year, a processing center for vacuum-fried jackfruit opened in Baybay City, Leyte. The technology was transferred by VSU’s Department of Food Science and Technology (DFST) and Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources Research and Development to the local government. (PNA)