The unfiltered love for the delicious ‘ Chakkapazham’ (jackfruit) has brought together a team of prospective entrepreneurs in Kerala to tap the potential of this tropical fruit in the country.
They have formed a WhatsApp group Chakkakkoottam. It aims to make better usage of jackfruit and is also aim at ensuring that they are not lost due to rotting. The group includes photographers, food and marketing professionals, machinery experts, etc.
They have also floated a start-up Chakkakkoottam International Pvt Ltd that aims at ensuring jackfruit products made available to more people and create job opportunities.
It is estimated that 35 to 60 crore jack fruits are produced in Kerala every year which only less than 10 per cent is produced into value-added products. “Despite the Kerala government declaring jack fruit as the official fruit in 2018, one-third of the fruit went unused,” said Manu Chandran, CEO, Chakkakkootam International Pvt Ltd.
Besides Kerala, it is also produced in large quantities in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Goa, Assam, Tripura, Bihar, and Uttar Pradesh. Due to a lack of organised procurement and processing facilities, even today bulk of the production goes to waste.
Chakkakkoottam shares the details of jackfruit availability, holds meetings, and also arranges visits to places where they are grown.
Varied products produced
Currently, the company produces six varieties of ready-to-eat jackfruit products like raw and ripe fruit fried, dried jackfruit, powder jam and halwa.
Chandran said, the fried products are air-fried to avoid oil and ensure better health. He added that the company displayed the products at the recently concluded Vyapar B2B meet organised by the State Industries department in Kochi.
When jackfruit lovers came to know about the group, several people from other States and abroad evinced interest to be part of it. Initially, there were around 100 members and now the number has gone up to 1,000, he claimed.
Farmers have been convinced that the fruit which nobody wanted now has a great demand and bringing it to the dining table will foster a healthy eating culture. The initial plan is to process 3.25 tonnes of raw jack fruit to produce 550 kg of various products.
“The focus will be on the domestic sector first and there are also plans to develop a web-based platform for online marketing,” Chandran added.
September 26, 2022