Tue, May 08, 2018 - Page 4 News List

Jackfruit touted as economic panacea for Chenggong

By Chang Tsun-wei and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Baby jackfruit are displayed in Taitung County’s Chenggong Township on Monday last week.

Photo: Chang Tsun-wei, Taipei Times

Baby jackfruit could become a profitable signature product for farmers in Taitung County’s Chenggong Township (成功), Chenggong Farmers’ Cooperative officials said.

The fruits are part of local Aborigines’ diets, cooperative marketing and sales head Chiu Chin-sheng (邱欽聖) said, adding that the co-op has transformed more than 3 fen (2,910m2) of its land into baby jackfruit orchards with the Council of Agriculture’s technical assistance.

While 10 farmers are working on the pilot program, the co-op is trying to recruit more farmers to grow the fruit in vacant areas of their fields and gardens, he said.

As baby jackfruit is rich in lycopene and beta-carotene, its extracts could be used in nutritional supplements, Chiu said

Beta-carotene’s benefits on eyesight should be particularly attractive to health-conscious people who want to offset heavy smartphone and computer use, he said.

The co-op would also focus on increasing total yield and diversifying baby jackfruit-derived food products, he said.

The township’s annual jackfruit yield is about 1 tonne, but only 1kg of the nutritionally rich seed covering can be derived from every 5kg of the fruit, Chiu said.

The co-op hopes to triple the total yield, he said, adding that it would incentivize production by buying the fruits from farmers at favorable prices.

Other food products derived from jackfruit being researched include jackfruit juice ice cubes extracted from seed coverings that could be drunk as a beverage or added to a hot pot or rice, Chiu said.

Extracts could also be added to steamed buns and noodles, or turned into shaved ice or ice cream, he said.

“We hope that the baby jackfruit will become the specialty food product of our township,” Chiu said.

This story has been corrected since it was first published.

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