By Zac B. Sarian

One fruit crop that Sandy Javier is growing in a big way in his 124-hectare farm in Rosario, Batangas, is a sweet jackfruit developed by the Eastern Visayas Integrated Agricultural Research Center (EVIARC). Of course, Javier is more popularly known as the founder of Andok’s Litson Manok. Not many people know, however, that he has a highly diversified farm covering 124 hectares, a big part of which is mountain.

Apparently, Sandy has realized the need for producing in big volume an outstanding jackfruit that can become a top money-maker once it is produced in commercial volume and processed into high-value products that can meet local demand as well as the export market. Understandably, the variety which has been registered with the National Seed Industry Council (NSIC) is called EVIARC Sweet.

Our estimate is that there are at least 500 fruiting trees that must be five to six years old. And there are hundreds more in the juvenile stage. We saw newly arrived seedlings that must be about four hundred. And many more have been ordered for future shipment, according to Sandy.

The trees are beautifully growing with glossy leaves and no sign of disease and insect damage at all. The secret why the trees are so healthy, Sandy said, is that they are generously fertilized with vermicompost. Oh yes, Sandy is a big producer of vermicompost, but that is for another story.

The jackfruit trees are low-growing with multiple secondary branches. That’s a technology developed by researchers at EVIARC. The planting materials on the second year in the field are topcut so that no principal trunk grows upwards. The secondary branches which bear many of the fruits are not shooting up.

There’s wisdom in planting in big number a variety that is outstanding in many ways, fruitful and with excellent eating quality. Because the planting materials are grafted, the fruits are expected to be true to type. The fruits would be more or less the same in quality and the processed products would come out to be uniform.

Researchers at EVIARC have already developed processing technologies like making tarts, pastillas, purees, dried jackfruit, jam, and more. Vacuum-fried jackfruit in attractive packaging can be a winner in the export market.

Meanwhile, production of grafted planting material in Luzon can also be an attractive money-making project. That can be done right in the farm of Sandy where scions are available. Seedlings of ordinary cultivars can be used as rootstock. At the trade show last year, we saw some grafted EVIARK Sweet being sold at P250 apiece.

Watch for more stories about the many projects that Sandy is undertaking in his Rosario farm. He has been coming up with so many ideas. And by the way, he has two other farms in Batangas, one in Padre Garcia, and another in Lipa City.