By John Maico Hernandez

The tropical fruit known for its thorny external projections and sweet nutritious flesh has gone out from being just a fruit to being Malvar’s jack(fruit) of all trades.

This sweet and delicious jackfruit rich in vitamins, minerals, electrolytes, phytonutrients, carbohydrates, fiber, fat, and protein is recognized for its abundance (in different varieties) in the municipality of Malvar, particularly in Brgy. Bilucao.

Over the years, preparation of jackfruit flesh has become a source of livelihood of most people in Bilucao by supplying it to jackfruit processing companies. However, no one in the community has attempted to run an enterprise that is focused on the processing of jackfruit-based products.

In an effort to form a value-adding solution to the plain jackfruit flesh or aril, an organization ‘Bisig at Lakas ng Kasapi ng Samahan ng Bilucao’ (BiLangKaS) was established in Brgy. Bilucao. Significant among its goals is the adoption of a technology on jackfruit-based products processing to spin off applications to their abundant supply of jackfruit and run an enterprise to provide its members with sustainable livelihood opportunities.

Their need for technical assistance to realize their goal of putting up a jackfruit-based processing enterprise paved the way for the local government of Malvar, Kabalikat Sa Hanapbuhay Foundation, Inc., DOST Batangas, and the University of the Philippines Los Baños-Institute of Food Science and Technology (UPLB-IFST) to collaborate. Product development in jackfruit was conducted by experts of UPLBIFST. The distinctive aroma and sweet flavor of jackfruit were developed into tastebuds-satisfying processed food.

Recipes like jackfruit jam, jackfruit yema pastillas, jackfruit in syrup, jackfruit puree, dried jackfruit, jackfruit flakes, jackfruit seeds chips, and jackfruit flavored-banana chips were developed into a standard formulation ready for small-scale production.

Experts like Claire Zubia, Romel Felismino, and Joel Rivadeneira facilitated the training on jackfruit-based products processing held at the Senior Citizen Bldg., Brgy. Bilucao, Malvar, Batangas last August, 2018.

Meanwhile, to educate the participants on the food safety regulations by both local and international regulating bodies, an awareness seminar on the basic food hygiene and current good manufacturing practices in food processing was conducted by Ellgine Libao.

This appeared in Agriculture Monthly’s October 2018 issue.