July 25, 2015
A team of researchers in Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) has found suitable types of jackfruit trees that will yield small size fruits to match the demand of nuclear families. It is now trying to identify varieties for cultivation and marketing to suit the changing life style and fruit consumption habit of people.
Speaking about the research, R. M. Vijaykumar, Professor and Head, Department of Fruit Crops, TNAU, said: “The commonly available jackfruits are between 15 and 20 kilograms in weight and small families with three to four members are not interested in buying those big size fruits. We launched a study two years ago to identify types of jackfruits, which have high nutritional value and weighing below five kg. Following the research, we found some interesting observations.”
The Professor said: “The fruit, which is known as ‘Poor Man’s Food’, comes from a multipurpose tree providing use as food, timber, fuel, fodder, medicine, etc. The unripe fruit is used as vegetable and ripe fruit is nutritious and rich in Vitamin A and minerals. The tree is also playing a significant role for preservation of environment and prevention of soil erosion.”
He also said, “The seeds can be eaten boiled, roasted, dried and salted as table nuts. They can be ground to make flour and blended with wheat flour for baking. The timber is used for making furniture, implements, musical instruments and in construction. It is termite proof and fairly resistant to fungal and bacterial decay. The roots of older trees are good for carving and picture framing. The trees may also serve as shade for coffee plantations and as support for black pepper.”
The team that worked on the study comprises post-graduate student of Horticulture, P. Manikandan, Assistant Professor, Department of Fruit Crops, S. Kavino, conducted survey to find different types of jackfruits grown in non-traditional areas in the State including Pudukottai.
Prof. Vijayakumar said: “As many as 125 varieties were studied for fixing the selection parameters of dwarf, regular bearing, high yield with small size fruits and improved quality of fruits. We found some suitable varieties and classified it under three categories of suitability, for family of five, regular bearing and off-season bearing.” he noted.
TNAU hoped that it would identify the most suitable type within a year of further research and that could be promoted as a new variety. “It will be viable for cultivation, marketing and consumption by small families.” he added.