One fruit tree that farmers should consider planting for a number of good reasons is the jackfruit. For one, it can be grown in many parts of the country.
jackfruit is less demanding in its cultural requirements than other fruit trees. Like mango, for instance. Mango is attacked by many pests and diseases so that it requires spraying with expensive pesticides. The only major problem in jackfruit production is the fruit borer which can be easily remedied by bagging the fruits with ordinary sack starting when they are the size of a child’s head.
Jackfruit also commands a high price in the market. As fresh fruit for eating, the fruit is usually sliced into sizes of about a kilo each. And in the weekend market, a kilo is priced as much as P80. Of course processors need a lot of supplies but they usually pay a much lower price.
Jackfruit bears fruit much earlier than mango. With large planting materials, jackfruit will bear fruit in two years from planting. What is important is to plant the recommended varieties. Proven to be adaptable and high-yielding in the Philippines are the latexless varieties from Malaysia and Thailand. There is also a recommended variety selected in Leyte known as the Eviarc jackfruit.
If you have seeds of inferior varieties, produce seedlings which you can use as rootstock for grafted jackfruit. Graft onto them scion of superior or selected varieties. Germinating the seeds is easy. You can sow the seeds right after extracting or a few days later. A germinating medium of garden soil, rice hull and organic fertilizer is okay. Take good care of the seedlings. After one year they will be big enough for field planting.
Jackfruit can be grown in rolling terrain as well on flat land. When the farm is flat, drainage provision is necessary. This could be canals between rows. Best soil is one that is rich in organic matter. If the soil is poor, it could be enriched with the application of organic fertilizer and chemical plant food. Clean culture is best so the weeds should be eliminated regularly.
One lesson can be learned from Vietnam if the purpose is to produce fruits for processing. Different farming communities grow the same variety – the latexless jackfruit from Thailand. Every day, the farmers deliver as much as 20 tons of fruits to the processing factory. The advantage is that the fruits are uniform in size and quality. The resulting processed products are also of the same quality.