Experts stress jackfruit processing to maintain value | The Asian Age Online, Bangladesh

Agriculture experts and researchers have underscored the need for jackfruit processing after the best uses of modern technologies to maintain its value and protect from being wastages. They came up with the importance while sharing their expertise in a webinar titled “Jackfruit Postharvest Loss Reduction and Marketing Strategy -Ways to Move Forward” recently.

Postharvest Technology Division (PHTD) of Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) hosted the virtual workshop under the Postharvest Management, Processing and Marketing of Jackfruits project with financial support of Krishi Gobeshona Foundation (KGF).Jackfruit experts Dr Golam Ferdous Chowdhury and Tareq Rafi Bhuiyan illustrated various value addition aspects of the fruit during presentation of two keynote papers on ‘Product Development Technologies of Jackfruit’ and ‘Value Chain Development and Marketing Strategy of Jackfruit’ respectively, reports BSS.

Executive Chairman of Bangladesh Agriculture Research Council Dr Shaikh Mohammad Bokhtiar addressed the meeting as chief guest. BARI Director General Dr Nazirul Islam and KGF Executive Director Dr Jiban Krishna Biswas spoke as special guests with Coordinator of the project Dr Miaruddin in the chair.

Professor Shahjahan from German University of Bangladesh moderated the discussion. Dr Bokhtiar said a jackfruit can weigh between 5 and 30 kilograms and contain hundreds of seeds that are rich in protein, potassium, calcium, and iron – all of which are important for growth. “It’s a miracle. It can provide so many nutrients and calories – everything,” he added.

Anyone might be surprised to know that jackfruit – the national fruit of Bangladesh – is a fruit in high demand all over the world, he also said. Reportedly, up to 50 percent of jackfruits grown in Bangladesh valued at around Taka 500 crore have been wastage because the fruit is rotten if it’s not eaten or preserved within a few weeks, Bokhtiar said.

So, proper collection, management, processing technology and conservation is very important for substantial and sustainable reduction of the yearly losses, he continued. The fruit itself is a good source of Vitamin C, while the seeds are rich in protein, potassium, calcium, and iron as about one-fifth of a pound of the fruit has approximately 95 calories, he went on saying.

In his remarks, Dr Nazirul Islam said Jackfruit contains high-powered antioxidants that protect the human body from harmful cancer. PHTD has been implementing the project with the main thrust of reducing the loss through enhancing jackfruit production, postharvest management, processing and marketing.

To this end, farmers’ groups and small entrepreneurs have been formed and the groups are working to reduce loss of jackfruit by supplying it and manufacturing and marketing various types of jackfruit products. Dr Islam said the government has initiated a move to engage the private sector in processing chips, a meat substitute, to add maximum value to the national fruit.

Nowadays, boiled and processed jackfruits and soya foods are becoming popular as alternatives to red meat in the US, Canada and the EU, he added. Need-based training is being arranged to motivate in making various food items of jackfruit like chips, vegetable meat, fresh-cut, dried product, jam and pickle.

Besides, various steps are being taken to popularize jackfruit through various promotional activities under the three-year project being implemented in eight districts. Around 10.36 lakh tonnes of jackfruit are produced in Bangladesh every year and of which 1.26 lac tons are produced in Rajshahi division.

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