KOZHIKODE: Raw jackfruit carpels from Kerala have found a market in foreign countries. Exports have been picking up and expectations are high that the market will flourish. Besides, the sale of frozen raw carpels has started at more than a dozen supermarkets in Kottayam and Ernakulam. The main reason behind the demand is the recently known low glycemic index of raw jackfruit that makes it a welcome diet for diabetics. Jackfruit is largely exported to UK, US, Canada, Ireland and New Zealand. “We have sold 25,000 kg of raw jackfruit to the export agency in the last four months. The demand in foreign countries is growing in a way that wherever there is a Malayali, there is a market,” beams Roni Mathew, chairman of Pala-based Multi-state agriculture marketing cooperative society (MSAMCS).
MSAMCS has been collecting jackfruit from farmers from five gram panchayats of Kottayam every day at Rs 6-8 per kg. “Our vehicle reaches the household in the morning. The fruit is collected and payment made on the spot. Besides, if the farmers provide dressed jackfruit carpels according to our needs, Rs 50 is paid per kilo,” added Mr Mathew. He says that only 15 per cent of the fruit is being used for export.
Neeloor service cooperative bank (NSCB) on the Kottayam-Idukki border is also collecting jackfruit from farmers to be sold to the export agency. “Jackfruit is undoubtedly the fruit of tomorrow. We have sold five to eight tonnes of jackfruit since January. Besides, dried fruit has been delivered to food manufacturing units in Ernakulam and Muvattupuzha,” said Mathachan Urumbukad, the bank president. NSCB has now floated a JF producer company with finance mobilized through the share market and the backing of NABARD. “Keralites are quick to realize the potential of the hitherto untapped JF. Going by indications, the fruit would become a game changer for the benefit of farmers as well as to the agrarian sector,” observes Shree Padre, noted agriculture journalist.