The purpose of showcasing and catering the public a research and development event upon Jackfruits. 

By Ma. Cecilia Alaban and Julio Yap, Jr.

FIESTA or Farm-Industry Encounters Through the Science and Technology Agenda, as conceptualized by the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research (PCAARRD) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), aims to show the complete sphere of research and development as it treats with equal importance the whole agricultural value chain from production to processing to technology mainstreaming.

As a technology transfer and commercialization platform, FIESTA gathers the various players of agricultural R&D, primarily the technology generators, farmers, and micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to showcase regional agricultural, aquatic and natural resources (AANR) technologies, innovations, products, and services; assist in the diffusion of technologies for better farming opportunities; and provide a true encounter of various research and development beneficiaries to maximize the benefits of particular products and commodities.

Showcased during the FIESTA exhibit were the different production and post-production technologies used for jackfruit as well as products processed from the fruit.

 

A TECH PLATFORM FOR AN IMPORTANT FRUIT – The jackfruit is considered one of the most widely cultivated fruits in the country. It adapts well to a wide range of growing conditions and has many uses, both commercial and non-commercial.

Given its importance, jackfruit was chosen as a priority crop in a project being conducted in Eastern Visayas: “Tropical tree fruit research and development in the Philippines and northern Australia to increase productivity, resilience and profitability.” The project is being implemented by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) and PCAARRD.

During a recent two-day event at the Visayas State University (VSU) in Baybay, Leyte, the Visayas Consortium for Agriculture, Aquatic and Resources Program (ViCAARP) showcased the research and development gains made in jackfruit as a primary commodity, together with those of three other products: coconut, pineapple, and shellfish. “Jackfruit at Iba Pa (Jackfruit and Others)” was one of the activities held in connection with the VSU’s 93rd anniversary celebrations.

The event aimed to showcase and promote technologies of Eastern Visayas with emphasis on jackfruit by providing a venue for active interactions among farmers, industry players, and the research and development stakeholders. Farmers, officials, and faculty members of the VSU, ViCAARP, and other concerned agencies joined the event.

The event showcased and promoted the technologies of Eastern Visayas with emphasis on jackfruit by providing a venue for active interactions among farmers, industry players, and the research and development stakeholders.

The PCAARRD recognizes the combined effort of the member agencies of the ViCAARP on research and development, which enabled the consortium to respond to the challenge posed by the Philippine Development Plan in bringing the fruits of science and technology to all, especially the marginalized farmers and fisherfolk in the countryside.

DISEASE MANAGEMENT – The project aims to develop and implement integrated disease management solutions to diseases caused by Phytophthora palmivora. The disease causes a decline in fruit production and seedling dieback, and other conditions which result in significant yield loss in jackfruit.

The project also works to develop and implement crop management options to improve productivity and fruit quality, and realize improved processing options for jackfruit.

Various research activities in the project sites are spearheaded by implementing agencies: the VSU and Department of Agriculture-Regional Field Office 8. VSU handles experiments in disease management and studies in food processing. On the other hand, the Regional Integrated Agricultural Research Center (RIARC) in Abuyog, Leyte, and the Eastern Visayas Integrated Agricultural Research Center (EVIARC) in Babatngon, both of the Department of Agriculture, are conducting trials on disease and nutrient management, fruit load regulation, and flower induction.

PCAARRD ACD director Marita A. Carlos (left) and PCAARRD deputy executive director for R&D Dr. Edwin C. Villar (right), together with VICAARP director Othello B. Capuno, VSU president Edgardo E. Tulin, DOST Region-8 director John Glen Ocaña, and other officials during the opening rites of the FIESTA program on ‘Jackfruit at Iba Pa’ at the VSU Campus in Baybay, Leyte.

The effects of different potting media, sanitation, inoculation, and phosphonate application on the health of jackfruit seedlings are being re-evaluated under the project, among other activities.

Research results show that the combination of soil sterilization and phosphonate application reduced the severity of Phytophthora disease in seedlings. A similar result was obtained with a highly porous potting medium. Nursery sanitation was also found to be crucial for disease management.

Inoculation trials using different Artocarpus species also showed that marang (Artocarpus odoratissimus) and camansi (Artocarpus camansi) are more resistant to Phytophthora palmivora compared to EVIARC Sweet, a well-known jackfruit variety. On the other hand, chempedak (Artocarpus lacootcha) is more susceptible to the disease than EVIARC Sweet.

A trial on scion-rootstock combinations is also being done for disease resistance. The highest rate of survival among grafts was observed in the chempedak-jackfruit combination.

Other ongoing experiments include evaluation of the effect of scion-rootstock combinations on canopy growth and productivity, development of tools to manipulate flowering patterns in jackfruit to spread crop production and income generation, and development of crop load and nutrient management techniques.

An improved canopy of trees was observed after the application of phosphonate and recommended fertilizer, which are complete (14-14-14), muriate of potash (0-0-60), and organic. It also enhanced flower emergence and produced heavier fruits.

FOOD PROCESSING – The “FIESTA on Jackfruit at Iba Pa” also helped in identifying the various jackfruit recipes which can be developed with jackfruit as the main ingredient.

In food processing, the project aims to refine the current vacuum-fried jackfruit and alternative products produced in the country and to study “fresh cut” processing options for the fruit. For instance, the VSU’s Department of Food Science and Technology is testing the process and product optimization of cocosap sweetened dehydrated jackfruit.

Also showcased during the FIESTA exhibit and forum were the different production and post-production technologies as well as jackfruit processed products.

(Parts of this article were published as http://www.pcaarrd.dost.gov.ph/home/portal/index.php/quick-information-dispatch/2820-aciar-pcaarrd-project-targets-increased-productivity-resilience-and-profitability-of-jackfruit)

This story appeared in Agriculture Monthly’s December 2017 issue.