Jackfruit, A Promising Cash Crop

Jackfruit or jack (Artocarpus heterophyllus), also known as jacquier, kathal, langka, nangka, khanun, makmi, banun, nongko, kapiak and peignai, is a plant which probably originated from the Western Ghats in India. It has become naturalized in many tropical countries, mostly in Southeast Asia where it is considered a major fruit. Where food is scarce, it is utilized as a staple.

The fruit of jackfruit can form from the base of trunks and develop in contact with the ground.A fruit develops from the base of the trunk. By covering the fruit with a pile of soil, it will appear that this jackfruit tree naturally produces underground fruit.

This fruit crop is adapted to warm and humid climates below 1000 masl, but it can thrive up to 1600 meters. It has poor cold, drought and flooding tolerance but has moderate tolerance to wind and salinity.

It favors an annual rainfall of 1500 mm or more without pronounced dry season. It grows on various types of soil but prefers deep, well-drained, alluvial, sandy or clay loam soils with pH range of 6.0 to 7.5.

This plant is described as a medium-sized, evergreen, monoecious tree up to 20 meters tall and 80 cm in diameter. It produces fruits which are very green or greenish yellow when ripe, hanging on short stalks from the main stem or large older branches.

The fruits are botanically a syncarp, up to 100 cm x 50 cm in size. Seeds are numerous. A well developed fruit may contain up to 500 seeds, each weighing 3-6 grams.

It is common to see multiple number of fruits of jackfruit  developing in a tight bunch. Fruit thinning can disperse the fruits.This jackfruit tree was grown from a marcot/layer.

Practically all parts of the jackfruit plant are useful, from roots to leaves. The latex of the tree is used as bird lime. If heated, it makes an excellent cement for broken China. The bark has been made into rope and cloth. Many parts of the tree have been used traditionally as medicine. The timber is likewise classified as a medium hardwood with superior qualities for furniture, construction, musical instruments and other uses.

However, this tree is more popular because of its large fruit which can weigh from 0.5 to 50 kg each. It is used in many ways. The pulp of the young fruit is cooked as vegetable , pickled or canned in brine or curry. The pulp or flesh of the ripe fruit is eaten fresh or processed into chutney, jam, jelly, paste or candy. It is also used to flavor ice cream and beverages, or made into honey, or processed into concentrate or powder and used in preparing drinks. The seeds are commonly eaten after boiling or roasting.

In countries outside of the producing regions, jackfruit is available either in canned, packed or dried forms. There are now many companies engaged in producing dried jackfruit chips.

In Southeast Asia, this fruit is occasionally planted as an intercrop to coconut, durian and mango. They are also used as shade trees for coffee and black pepper.

There are several varieties that are grown in the Philippines. The most important are the Sinaba and the Tinumbaga. Sinaba has thick flesh and small seeds, with good eating quality. Tinumbaga has thinner flesh and stronger aroma, with sweeter taste. Other varieties are called AES Jak #1, AES Jak #2, AES Jak #3 and ACC #4 Burabod. These varieties have average fruit weights ranging from 5.2 to 12.3 kg. (AFIS, n.d.)

In South India, the jackfruits are divided into two main classes, the koozha chakka and the koozha pazham. Koozha chakka has small, fibrous, soft and mushy but very sweet flesh while koozha pazham has a crisp , higher quality flesh. Koozha chakka is equivalent to the khanun lamoud in Thailand , vela in Sri Lanka, and nangka bubur in Indonesia and Malaysia. Koozha puzham is called khanun nang in Thailand, varaka in Sri Lanka, nangka salak in Indonesia, and nangka bilulang in Malaysia.

Flowering starts at the age of 2-8 years for trees propagated from seed. Vegetatively propagated trees starts fruiting within 2-4 years after planting under favorable conditions. In Malaysia, clonal trees reach full production when they are 8 to 15 years old. The trees bear flowers and fruits year round under favorable conditions, but usually there are peak harvest periods: from April to August or September to December in Malaysia, from January to May in Thailand, and during summer in India. (Verheij and Coronel, 1992). Fruits ripen 3-8 months after flowering (SCUC, 2006).

Average yield of jackfruit is about 70-100 kg per tree per year in Malaysia and the Philippines (Verheij and Coronel, 1992). With a planting density ranging from a minimum of 70 to a maximum of 180 trees per hectare, this is equivalent to an annual yield potential of 4.9-18 tons per hectare. According to SCUC (2006), however, the average yield is about 10 tons per hectare.

(Ben G. Bareja 2010)

Note: This is page 1 of 2 web pages. Click here to read Growing Jackfruit: Cultural Practices.


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