Almost every person you know eats jackfruit. In Kampala, a small plate of jackfruit costs between sh1,000 and sh 2,000. A medium-sized fruit costs sh6,000 or even more. And yet, dealers say, there is always a scarcity of the fruit because ‘nobody’ grows it commercially.
A jackfruit tree can tolerate most environments in Uganda. This is why jackfruit trees are seen in nearly every part of the country, with Busoga, Teso, Luwero and Mityana as the leading producers.
However, at the moment, other than the trees that ‘planted’ themselves naturally, few farmers plant the fruit directly. If you just planted 10 trees today, they will be yielding after three years. On average, each tree can give as many as 30 fruits when still young and over 100 after maturing. If each of your 10 trees yielded 30 fruits, then those are 300 fruits in the first year. Note that there are no serious expenses on management after planting.
Jackfruit makes a good addition to fruit salad. While most Ugandans eat it fresh, jackfruit can also be preserved as syrup or dried. The flesh can also be used in ice cream, curries and deep fries or simply served chilled on a bed of ice. The seeds can be eaten boiled or roasted.
Jackfruit is rich in carbohydrate. It is also an excellent source of vitamins A and C in addition to good fibre iron and moderate zinc. Jackfruit helps in controlling high blood pressure.
However, they eat it for its sweetness, without knowing its other nutritional value.
Jackfruit is rich in energy, dietary fibre, minerals and vitamins. Some of the minerals include; potassium, magnesium, manganese, and iron.
Others are; copper, calcium, zinc and it provides a small amount of selenium.
Yielding of the jackfruit trees
A jackfruit tree starts bearing fruit after three years. The tree produces fruits throughout the year, though production tends to go up during the dry season.
A ripe fruit changes colour from pale green to brownish-yellow. Although a single tree will still produce fruits, it is better to grow several in a cluster to increase yields through cross pollination.
The fruits will mature in about three months after flowering. The matured fruit turns from light green to yellowish green, the fruit spikes grow further apart and become slightly flattened, the last leaf on the stalk turns yellow and the fruit produces a dull, hollow sound when tapped. To get a ripe fruit you cut the stalk of the jackfruit and lower it to the ground.