BAR supports R&D initiatives on jackfruit

07-09-18 EVIARC Sweet“Jackfruit is considered by the Department of Agriculture (DA) as one of the high-value crops and is one of the priority commodities of Eastern Visayas to be commercialized. And for that to happen, we should increase its production and improve its productivity. This is when we implemented the Community-based Participatory Action Research (CPAR) on jackfruit Production and Processing in Barangays San Isidro and Malinao in Mahaplag, Leyte,” said Ms. Alicia Bulawan, co-leader of the CPAR project.

Funded by the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR), the CPAR project implemented from 2010 to 2013 aimed to pilot a village-level production and processing scheme for jackfruit to support the commercialization of jackfruit in the region.

Based on the results of the participatory rural appraisal among the members of Mahaplag Jackfruit Growers Association, project cooperators, the following problems on jackfruit production were identified: lack of capital, lack of technical knowledge on cultural management and processing of jackfruit, occurrence of pests and diseases and high cost of production inputs.

Hence, the DA-Regional Field Office 8, through the Eastern Visayas Integrated Agricultural Research Center (EVIARC), in collaboration with the Visayas State University (VSU), developed technologies on jackfruit. These were taught to the farmers through the conduct of trainings and workshops.

“We provided them with appropriate technologies on integrated nutrient management, pest management, and pruning strategies,” Bulawan said. Aside from production management, the CPAR project also provided trainings for home-based processing of jackfruit products. “We have also introduced processing jackfruit into pastillas, tart, jam, and jelly to women from the same association. Most of them are the farmers’ wives,” she added.

After two years of implementation, jackfruit yield increased from 8 metric tons to 15 metric tons per hectare; production areas were expanded to 11 hectares; number of farmer-cooperators increased from 22 to 52; and average income was boosted from Php 96,250 to Php 317,500. Establishment of plant nurseries as scheme to expand plantation was made possible through the project.

CPAR, one of the banner programs of BAR, is a location-specific research cum extension modality that deals with improved technologies for the farming and fishing communities. Through the years, CPAR has helped in improving the lives of our farmer cooperators and adoptors.

Other BAR-funded R&D initiatives on jackfruit

BAR has since then continually supports research and development (R&D) initiatives on jackfruit. One of these projects is the collaboration project of BAR and VSU that aimed to produce chitin and chitosan from chitin-containing crustacean exoskeleton wastes, and to evaluate their potential together with raw materials for the control of Phytophthora palmivora — a disease that is affecting the production of jackfruit in the country. Through this project, researchers were able to identify the most effective chitin and chitosan source as well as the most effective method of treatment application.

Aside from Phytophthora palmivora, the high seasonality of jackfruit also affects its production. “Studies on the flowering behavior of EVIARC Sweet jackfruit, which was developed by DA-EVIARC, revealed that flowers were mostly produced in the months of November and December and in February and March,” said Dr. Dario Lina, assistant professor at VSU. To address this problem, Dr. Lina is currently implementing a project aimed to increase the productivity and raise competitiveness of the jackfruit industry in Eastern Visayas through science-based manipulation of year-round production of fruits to support fresh market and processing industries.

Another on-going project on jackfruit by the University of the Philippines Los Baños is the “DNA Barcoding, Georeferencing, Morphological Characterization, Preliminary Evaluation and Selection of Philippine Jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus Lam) Germplasm and its Relevance.” Started earlier this year, the project is aimed to improve the characterization, conservation and utilization of jackfruit and its related endemic species through the creation of quick, cost-effective and reliable identification, monitoring and characterization scheme using DNA barcodes, georeferenced maps and characterization profiles.

“In a status report of jackfruit improvement in the Asia-Pacific Region by Sidhu, the importance of molecular markers was cited as one of the future prospects and strategy for jackfruit production and utilization, indicating its usefulness in popularizing this species as a commercial crop, for identification and for breeding purposes,” said Ms. Teresita Borromeo, project leader. ### (Rena S. Hermoso)

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