Department Agriculture Secretary, Manny Piñol, introduced the cultivation of Abuyog Sweet Jackfruit on his Facebook post. He encourages farmers to plant fruit trees than cash crops.
Cultivation of Abuyog Sweet Jackfruit
Shortly after I was appointed Secretary of Agriculture, I was introduced to the “Abuyog Sweet” jackfruit variety developed by the Eastern Visayas Agricultural Research Center (EVIARC) during my visit to Leyte.
I was served a plateful of the golden fruit and after tasting it, I acquired a few hundred seedlings which I planted in my farm.
It was just pure fancy for the fruit as I have planted so many varieties of fruit trees in my farm in Paco, Kidapawan City since I acquired it in 1993.
This weekend, as I was told by.my farm worker that one of the trees already had two big fruits less than three years after it was planted.
It was a pleasant surprise for me and just to make sure that the fruits will be protected from fruit borers, these were wrapped in a bag.
Hopefully in two weeks, I could have a taste of the “EVIARC Sweet” which I planted.
For me, the “Abuyog Sweet” variety is the best “langka” because of its firm flesh and sweetness.
Since the trees need to be pruned, I am giving out for free scions for grafting so that other farmers could plant the variety as well.
Opportunity Behind Planting Fruit Trees
This fits well with the program that we are implementing now in the Department of Agriculture which encourages farmers living in mountainous or sloped and undulating areas to plant fruit trees instead of cash crops to prevent landslides and soil erosion.
The new thrust in Agricultural Planning introduces the planting of high value fruit trees like Cacao, Coffee and the Mexican Hash Avocado and trees like Falcata and Gmelina in mountainous, sloping and undulating areas to address the problems caused by soil erosion due to the planting of cash crops.
The lowly “langka” called Jackfruit in English, a fruit tree that is native to the Philippines, India and other Southeast Asian countries, could be the next star of the country’s high value crops as demand for the fruit has increased over the years.
The irony of it all is that while the “langka” (artocarpus heterophyllus) naturally grows in the Philippines, the demand for its sweet and fleshy fruit by food processors has been so tremendous that local farmers could not supply the needed volume resulting in the importation of about P500-M worth of frozen jackfruits every year from Vietnam and Thailand.
“Langka” is used by ice cream processors and the makers of “Turon,” a Filipino delicacy consisting of ‘Saba” banana in flour wrap with a slice of sweet “langka.”
Two weeks ago, I directed the Central Mindanao Agricultural Research Center to start a jackfruit nursery with 1-million rootstocks so the EVIARC Sweet variety could be propagated.
Reported by Manny Piñol