The Jack fruit is one of the most ignored fruits in Rwanda and it may take much longer to convince them to buy one and munch on its juicy and acute sweet fruit pods.
Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus) has diverse medicinal uses especially anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, anti-cancer and anti-fungal activity- this is a fruit that may fix some of the petty illnesses that you keep treating with packets of imported industrial pharmaceutical concoctions.
Jackfruit is considered to be an underutilized fruit where most of the fruits get wasted due to ignorance, lack of post-harvest technology and gaps in supply chain systems.
The Jackfruit is an exotic fruit grown in tropical regions of the world. It is native to South India. It is the largest tree fruit in the world and can reach up to 35kg in weight.
Rwandan farmers should also be considering the Jack fruit as a potential addition to the fruit basket exported abroad. All it needs is innovation in value addition because the market already is very big.
This wonder fruit is commonly grown in home gardens of tropical and subtropical countries. The fruit provide 2 MJ per kg/wet weight of ripe perianth and contain high levels of carbohydrates, protein, starch, calcium and vitamins.
According to agribusiness researchers, a wide gap in the marketing of jack fruits and its processed value added products which can be fully explored for additional income as well as food security. Encouragements should be done to the marketing as well as value added food products from this underutilized fruit tree.
Composition of Nutrients
Calories: 155 Carbs: 40 grams Fibre: 3 grams Protein: 3 grams Vitamin A: 10% of the RDI Vitamin C: 18% of the RDI Riboflavin: 11% of the RDI Magnesium: 15% of the RDI Potassium: 14% of the RDI Copper: 15% of the RDI Manganese: 16% of the RDI
Advantages of eating Jack Fruit
Vitamin C: Jackfruit contains high amounts of vitamin C, which may help prevent the inflammation that can lead to chronic diseases like heart disease and cancer
Carotenoids: Carotenoids have been shown to help lower inflammation and reduce the risk of various chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Flavanones: Flavanones contain anti-inflammatory properties that may help lower blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels — important factors in reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Immune health: Jackfruit’s content of immune-boosting vitamins A and C may help prevent illnesses. Eating this fruit is also claimed to be helpful for reducing the risk of viral infections.
Preventing skin problems: This fruit provides several nutrients and antioxidants, such as vitamin C, that may improve skin health. There is anecdotal evidence that eating it may slow the aging of your skin.
Heart health: Jackfruit may have the potential to reduce the risk of heart disease due to its content of potassium, fibre and antioxidants.
According to healthline a platform that provides credible, evidence-based health and wellness information, consuming jackfruit has never been reported to cause any serious side effects, and it is safe for most people to eat.
How to Plant Jack Fruit
Buy a ripe jack fruit from Kimironko, Remera or Nyabugogo areas- these are the places where one can find these strange fruits in Kigali. Other places include Kayonza district, Rwamagana and Gatsibo districts including those districts bordering with Uganda.
Pick only the largest seeds from the fruit as these will give you the earliest and highest germination that way producing the strongest seedlings.
- Clear up the area meant for planting.
- Sort out seeds you wish to use to bring up a seedling.
- Open up a soil depth of 2cm were you are to put your seeds.
- Pre-treat you seeds with warm water for 30 minutes before planting.
- Sow your seeds, and then gently cover with soils.
- Water to provide moisture and in 6 weeks the seeds shall have germinated into a healthy seedling.
- To prepare the seeds for plating remove the thin, slimy coating around the seed and then thoroughly rinse the seeds in water to remove any remaining pulp juice or sugary residue. Pretreat the seeds with relatively hot water as this will stimulate germination.
Sow seeds at a depth of 2cm and then gently cover with soil. Germination will begin in 1 to 6 weeks or even longer if seeds were stored for a long time after collection. Water to provide moisture required for seed germination.
Direct seeding in the field is the best propagation method if the planting location is well prepared. sow several seeds in each planting hole to allow for selecting the most vigorous seedling.
Care for the seedling for at least 6 to 12 months in first growth year. However watch out for boring insects like shoot boring caterpillar and also mealy bugs.
The tree usually bears fruit within 18 to 30 months from transplanting and the fruits mature with in 3 to 8 months from flowering.
Fertilize your growing jackfruit tree with nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium applied in a ratio of 8:4:2:1 to 1 ounce (30 g.) per tree at six months of age and doubling every six months up to two years of age.
Past the two year mark, growing jackfruit trees should get 35.5 ounces (1 kg.) per tree in the amount of 4:2:4:1 and is applied before and at the end of the wet season.
Other jackfruit care dictates the removal of dead wood and thinning of the growing jackfruit tree. Pruning to keep the jackfruit at about 15 feet (4.5 m.) high will also facilitate harvesting. Keep the tree roots damp but not wet.