At a time when achieving food security is a national priority for Sri Lanka, understanding our traditional food sources from the past has become ever so important. One such food source, the Jack fruit has been so close to our lives for centuries and yet it has rapidly lost its popularity due to various reasons in the recent decades. There is an old Sri Lankan saying that with a jack tree and a coconut tree in your back yard you will never starve. Apart from its traditional use as a widely available food source, some value added products have been introduced in recent years. These include de-hydrated jack fruit, canned/bottled jack fruit in syrup, jack fruit based chips/snacks etc. Jack fruit also offers many other benefits. Given the importance of jack fruit, Karuna Trust has initiated a project to plant 100,000 jack trees in selected districts across Sri Lanka. The project consists of 4 phases where in each phase 25,000 trees will be planted in 4 different districts. Phase I of this project has already been launched in July 2012, with kind sponsorship of Buddhist Global Relief (BGR), USA and we hope to continue this effort to achieve our target of 100,000 trees with your kind support.
About jack fruit
The jackfruit (Artocarpus heterophyllus) is a species of tree in the Artocarpus genus of the mulberry family (Moraceae). Jackfruit is the largest tree-borne fruit in the world,
reaching 80 pounds in weight and up to 36 inches long and 20 inches in diameter. It is native to parts of South and Southeast Asia, and is believed to have originated in the southwestern rain forests of India, in present-day Kerala, coastal Karnataka and Maharashtra. This tree is widely cultivated in tropical regions of India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines. The tree usually bears fruit within 18 – 30 months from transplanting, and the fruits mature within 3 to 8 months from flowering.
Jack fruit has many uses. Mature jack fruit can be prepared as a vegetable by boiling or cooking. Ripe jack fruit is a very popular fruit. Both young jack fruit, as well as jack fruit seeds are prepared as a vegetable, while jack fruit seeds are also cooked to produce a delicious traditional dish. Its many uses have been summarized below.
- As a nutritious food – Mature jack fruit, young jack fruit and the jack fruit seeds provide high nutrition value food sources
- Fruit – ripe jack fruit is a popular fruit
- Value added processed food – dehydrated jack fruit, canned/bottled jack fruit, chips and other snacks based on jack fruit.
- Timber – Jack fruit tree provides an excellent medium hardwood timber that shows termite resistance. This timber is widely used for making furniture, doors, windows & musical instruments.
- Firewood – branches are used as firewood
- Ecological and environmental use – Provides perennial cover, reducing the impact of rain drops and provides shade and serves as a wind break.
- Medicinal value – various parts of the tree and the fruit are used in traditional medicine in many south east Asian countries.
- Cultural value – Chips of heartwood when boiled yield yellow dye, used to color the robes of Buddhist monks. People of Hindu communities use leaves to decorate temples and other places of worship.
Our objective is to popularize the jack fruit and ensure that its multi-faceted benefits to the country as a whole are not forgotten. We also intend to get the participation of school children in this project as much as possible to enhance their awareness about jack fruit. While directly contributing to the ongoing tree planting programs, this effort will bring about additional benefits to the rural communities for many years to come. Estimated budget for planting 25,000 jack fruit trees is given below.
|Item||Computation||Total amount (US$)|
|Payment to villagers for extracting 25,000 Jack fruit seeds suitable for planting||@USD.0.002 per seed for 25,000 seeds||50.00|
|Cost for polythene bags||@USD 0.002 x 25000||50.00|
|Incentive for planting & nursing the jack fruit seedling for 3 months.||@USD 0.08 per plant for 25,000 plants||2000.00|
|Transplanting||@USD 0.30 per plant||7500.00|
|Total Cost||25,000 Trees planted||10,000.00|
Phase I Execution
Buddhist Global Relief (BGR) has provided the necessary funding for the initial phase of this project. After some consideration we have selected Galle district to plant 25,000 jack fruit trees. Officials at the Galle district secretariat were extremely enthusiastic about the project and they have provided their fullest support to launch the project.
Similarly, Kajugaswatta Maha Vidyalaya and Rambuka Maha Vidyalaya in Rambuka, Kalawana have joined hands to setup the nurseries required. They were very keen in joining the project from the beginning and it has helped to increase awareness about the value of jack fruit among the students. Karuna Trust will provide them with LKR 10 per plant when they are ready to be transplanted. This money will be used for their school development purposes. See more details here: Facebook page for the project
We wish to convey our special thanks Mr. H.M. Wijewardena of Rambuka Maha Vidyalaya for his tremendous support in launching this project in the village of Rambuka.
Raise necessary funds to complete next 3 phases of the project with 25,000 trees per phase
Select the districts and make necessary arrangements with the local officials for setting up nurseries & the actual plantation.
Active engagement at transplanting events and monitoring progress at 6 month interval for 2 years.
How You Can Help
If you wish to support this worthy cause please do contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone. Your kind contributions can be routed to Karuna trust by using the instructions below. Please include the reference “Jack Fruit Project” along with your donation.