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PTI

The Odisha government plans production of jackfruit in the state in largescale and to stress on creation of awareness among people about the high nutritional value of the fruit.

Chief Secretary SC Mohapatra while presiding over a meeting in Bhubaneswar on production of nutritious fruits recently, directed officials to promote and popularise jackfruit cultivation in the state.

Jackfruit, which naturally grows across Odisha, is a healthful source of vitamin C, potassium, dietary fibre, and some other essential vitamins and minerals. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, a cup of raw, sliced jackfruit contains 157 calories and 2.84 gm of protein.

Carotenoids, the pigments which make jackfruit yellow colour, are high in vitamin A. Like all antioxidants, carotenoids protect cells from damage and help your body work right. They may help prevent diseases like cancer and heart disease, as well as eye problems like cataract and macular degeneration.

"Jackfruit has high nutritional value, and the agro-climatic conditions of Odisha are suitable for its production", Mohapatra said, adding that the department of Horticulture needs to popularise cultivation of jackfruit with necessary supports like quality planting material, post harvest processing, value addition and marketing.

The chief secretary said there is a need to create extensive awareness about the nutritional composition of jackfruit along the lines of millet mission activities so that its commercial production would be taken up by farmers.

He also called upon for setting up post-harvest processing by local entrepreneurs, and value addition enterprises on different varieties of jackfruits. He also directed to increase the area under jackfruit cultivation in convergence with ongoing horticultural schemes and MGNREGA.

Jackfruit could be branded and popularised as a super-food among the people, he said, and directed officials to identify the potential areas where jackfruit could be cultivated in large patches. The Horticulture department was also asked to explore all possibilities for promoting it in the areas where people had traditional skill for jackfruit cultivation.

Development Commissioner PK Jena asked the department to work out a detailed plan with inputs from thematic experts. The experts suggested to glamourise the food items processed from jackfruit through jackfruit festivals at different levels.

Additional Chief Secretary and Agriculture Production Commissioner (APC) Sanjeev Chopra informed the meeting that Odisha was the second largest producer of jackfruit in the country after Tripura. Jackfruit trees were found distributed in all districts of Odisha. However, around 15 districts contributed major portion of the jackfruit production in the state, he said.

Chopra said that jackfruit trees were mostly confined to forest areas, backyards, wastelands, and road sites with around 3.15 MT of production per annum.

"Out of the total produce, around 55 per cent were consumed raw as a good vegetable, and around 35 per cent were consumed as a ripe fruit mostly in festivities. As per local climatic conditions, around 50 blocks in the state were found more suitable for largescale jackfruit production on a commercial scale," he said.
 

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