Miyerkules, Pebrero 12, 2014


AGAIN........P1.28 million DA project raised jackfruit or ‘langka’ yield in a poor Leyte town, enhances value adding opportunities of ‘Baybay Sweet A P1.28 million Department of Agriculture (DA) project successfully raised jackfruit yield in a Leyte town by 82 percent to 15.39 metric tons (MT) per hectare, enhancing profitability for a fruit that has abundant value-adding prospects when processed.
DA-Bureau of Agricultural Research’s (BAR) project in Mahaplag, Leyte has tapped a superior variety called “EVIARC Sweet, the sweetest known jackfruit variety that also has good crispiness.” 
It was developed by the Eastern Visayas Integrated Agricultural Research Center or EVIARC and is now registered with National Seed Industry Council.
Using EVIARC Sweet, an additional 11.97 hectares of jackfruit land have been put up in Mahaplag, a fifth class municipality in Leyte. This is an 80 percent increase in area in this rural town. That exceeded original project target of 30 percent increase.
“Jackfruit is a flagship project in Leyte. We want to help the province focus on crops that can make a dent in the lives of farmers and farming entrepreneurs in poor communities,” said BAR Director Nicomedes P. Eleazar.
Additional income of farmers from the project, arising mainly from yield increase, was from P77,000.00 to P307,800 per hectare over the September 2010 to June 2013 period. Yield in 2010 was only 8.45 MT per hectare. 
Training of farmers on improved cultural practices enabled increase in yield. This includes pruning, correct timing of fruit bagging, and use of a biological agent, Metarhizium anisopliae, as organic pesticide to control fruit fly and fruit borer. 
The BAR project also enabled yield increase through integrated nutrient management or INM. The establishment of plant nursery enabled availability seedlings. The Plant Now Pay Later program likewise helped expand plantation area. Processing Jackfruit, “langka” in Filipino, has significant market potential for processing similar to the country’s national fruit mango. It is processed into dried jackfruit, jackfruit pastillas, tart, and jelly.
As other Asian countries are seizing market opportunities, the Philippines should do the same. “Exotic fruits are in demand during Christmas which is a bright prospect for our fruits. In markets abroad, most of the tropical fruits sold are from Thailand and Vietnam. These command a high price,” according to Elvira C. Torres, Regional Integrated Agricultural Research Council (RIARC) manager and research chief.
With a production increase, EVIARC looks forward to the establishment of a Good Manufacturing Practice-compliant processing center. “In terms of processing, the volume of fresh fruits that can be absorbed will be increased. When a shared processing facility is established, it can already absorb the expected oversupply of fresh fruits foreseen by 2015,” said Torres. Baybay Delights Leyte’s jackfruit products have already joined some global trade fairs. Among these is the Asian Seed Congress in Thailand where the country’s jackfruit products have been found to be of good taste by visitors.
The “Baybay Delights” was also recently exhibited at the Agrilink in Manila. “Based on our observation, the potential to market EVIARC Sweet, compared to those from Thailand or Vietnam, is good particularly for the vacuum fried jackfruit. Its golden yellow color of the pulp is very natural. Its sweetness is already acceptable, and there’s no need to use sweetener,” said Torres. EVIARC Sweet has sweetness of 25.6 degree brix, higher than some varieties’ 19 or 18.
The processed form will give entrepreneurs a good profit as Baybay Sweet vacuum fried is sold at P65 per 100 grams in the market. Poverty Mahaplag is an economically poor municipality with 87 percent of the households in the CPAR location, Brgy. Malinao, considered to be poor. Poverty rate in the other CPAR location, Brgy. San Isidro is 56 percent. Annual household income in Brgy. Malinao is P46,000 and in Brgy. San Isidro, P32,000. Expansion area for jackfruit is still available in Mahaplag. It has 4,643 hectares for agricultural production. It is trying to raise income from agricultural production as its net return from the farm sector is lower than that of the national average. CPAR The Mahaplag Jackfruit Growers Assn (MJGA) has 22 jackfruit farmer-members. Through the Community Participatory Action Research (CPAR), MJGA was able to raise membership to 52 that also included processors and farmers.
BAR’s CPAR system is a process where communities are surveyed on what they think they need to help improve their agriculture-based livelihood. It is employed to ensure that projects will work because there is empowerment and participation of the community. Housewives in Mahaplag were trained to process jackfruit as a livelihood project. Pastillas, etc The BAR-CPAR project, in any future expansion, will further focus on the processing of three products that have given the highest profitability potential of 122.18 percent . These are jackfruit pastillas, jackfruit rags (in between the flesh) jelly, and tart.
EVIARC has partnered with the Visayas State University which now has expertise on jackfruit food processing technologies. Other collaborators of the project are the provincial local government unit of Leyte, Japan International Cooperation Agency, , and the Visayas Consortium for Agriculture, Fishery and Natural Resources Program (ViCARP).
So far a machine dehydrator has been turned over to the association of Baybay jackfruit producers. The Department of Science and Technology has also given a drying machine to the VSU for processing use. Seedlings EVIARC has already extended to private nurseries the technologies in seedling production. Moreover, it is encouraging private nurseries to maintain their own scion groves. “Nurseries are already in the hands of private operators. They are producing grafted planting materials. But we’re also encouraging them to have their own scion groves so that they have a guarantee that they have the prototype of the good quality parent trees,” said Torres.
Scion groves are parent trees that are not used for fruiting. The scion groves are maintained at a distance of 4x4 meters and will generate the scion ( a detached shoot or twig containing buds from trees) or rootstock from which planting materials will be derived. The project distributed 4,670 grafted jackfruit seedlings to Mahaplag. The seedlings were distributed to five hectares of open fields and to 29.9 hectares of land where jackfruit was intercropped with coconut.
Jackfruit is part of Mahaplag’s municipal investment plan. It is Leyte’s center of jackfruit farm. It is also near the regional integrated agricultural research center in Abuyog, a nearby town where most of the jackfruit processing technologies are available. Backyard Jackfruit trees in Eastern Visayas (Samar-Leyte) mostly involved mere backyard farming. But the propagation of more scions, a young plant twig particularly used for grafting, should enable birth of more plantation-type farms.
“Establishment of plant nurseries will expand areas into plantations. With 1000 grafted jackfruit seedlings per year, additional increase of 6.4 hectares of jackfruit plantations would be expected per year,” said the EVIARC group that also includes Alicia D. Bulawan, Glicerio N. Perlito, Mario Socrates P. Tisado, Brenda B. Almeroda, Anecita S. Mionda,Diosdada C. Tanola, and Dr. Carlos S. De La Cruz. Uses Jackfruit is a versatile fruit that has numerous commercial and non-commercial uses. Its wood is also used for furniture and clothing. It is a cure for some illness. The ripe fruit is used as dessert in the form of syruped delicacy. Its rags, the portion in between the edible flesh in ripe form, is rich in pectin and may also be eaten when turned into jelly. 
The BAR project aimed to prepare jackfruit producers to become processors. It is its hope to make them become entrepreneurs capable of coming up with high quality products exportable to the European Union and the United Arab Emirates. Another income opportunity for jackfruit is the sale of grafted planting materials. For selling the fruit, it has been an experience at EVIARC that there will be no significant income on the first two years of fruiting but income on the third and fourth year is already attractive at a net income of P140,000. OTOP The Mahaplag LGU is pushing for jackfruit’s becoming a One Town One Project (OTOP) commodity. As an OTOP, jackfruit will get production and marketing support from the national government particularly Department of Trade and Industry. 
At the start of the BAR project, Brgy. San Isidro had the biggest area planted to jackfruit at 12 hectares. This was even intercropped with coconut, reducing total compact jackfruit area. Moreover, most of the trees, 65 percent, are owned by one farmer-entrepreneur, Job Abuyabor, who has a 7.8 hectare jackfruit farm. Brgy. Malinao had three hectares.
Very few farmers practiced pruning, proper fertilization. They were never used to planting jackfruit based on the recommended distance of 8 by 8 meters. Now they are on their way to expansion. Other concerns There are many other concerns in developing the jackfruit industry. Among these are the development of markets for whole and pulp jackfruit and provision of a P100,000 fund and raising its repayment rate. The repayment rate, total fund amount that goes back to the P100,000 loan program, is currently just at one percent. Increasing repayment rate make it a sustainable rollover fund. 
Technologies just before harvest are also being tested in order to ensure high quality fruit production. To prevent cracking of the fruit upon harvest, application of boron is being validated for effectivity.
The jackfruit technologies are being spread throughout six provinces in Region 8—Biliran, Eastern Samar, Northern Samar, Western Samar, Leyte, and Southern Leyte. This is through a network called the Provincial Research Extension Center of PREC. (VerGarciaBlogs)

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