Jackfruit Farming Profit, Expense and more

Jackfruit once considered the poor man’s fruit has made headlines time and again in today’s world. Apart from its own set of health benefits, the fact that it’s also one of the few fruits which use minimal to no pesticides and chemical fertilizers, making it organic by nature, want many people to try the fruit when it is in season. Jack fruit is the edible largest fruit known to man. They grow up to 50 KG and sometimes more. Smaller fruits weigh 8-10 KG easily. 

Jackfruit is popular in southern and eastern India where it grows naturally. Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Gua, and Maharashtra in the south are known to grow Jackfruit in scattered pockets. Tamil Nadu is the only state in India which produces jackfruit as a mono-crop and commercially in India. The fruits are source from Panruti where its cultivated and distributed throughout the country. The market ranges from Delhi, Mumbai, Rajasthan and more. Kerala is one of the largest consumers of jackfruits. Jackfruits are consumed as fresh fruit, Jams, chips, and even flour. All forms of jackfruits are popular in Kerala. That are cooked as a main meal and consumed as a snack.

Jackfruits are just as popular in the eastern states of India where its considered a staple. While the rest of the country snacks on jackfruit, Kerala and the eastern states of India consider jackfruit a staple. The fruits are the main meal in breakfast lunch and dinner when it’s in season. They are cooked raw and supposedly tastes like pulled pork!

For jackfruit farmers it’s important to understand what weather is suitable for jackfruit farming. The market is the second most important thing or equally important. JAckfruits are not the preferred fruit in most cities in Gujarat or Rajasthan. Though the bigger cities may have a moderate market, the smaller ones are not a big market. This is due to the lack of knowledge of its benefits and the hassle of cleaning the fruit itself. Jackfruits have a sticky glue that comes out when it is cut. The latex of the fruit, though not toxic to touch, is extremely annoying and could stick to anything it touches. This is not appealing and is hard to clean. Once cleaned though, the fruit is excellent and has a fruity aroma. Some consider the smell of a jackfruit pungent or too strong. For most people, it is just fruity. The taste is sweet and kids usually like the fruit. The seed is considered rich in nutrients and is roasted. it has a nutty flavor and is a good snack. 

Basic Requirements for Jackfruit Farming and Cultivation

  1. Climate and Soil Requirements: Jackfruit trees thrive in tropical and subtropical climates. They require a temperature range of 25 to 35°C (77 to 95°F) and a minimum annual rainfall of 1500 to 2500 mm. They prefer well-drained, loamy soil with a pH range of 6 to 7.5.
  2. Propagation: Jackfruit trees can be propagated through seeds or vegetatively through grafting or budding. However, seedling trees take longer to bear fruit compared to grafted trees. Grafting or budding is the preferred method for commercial farming as it ensures desirable fruit characteristics and reduces the time to fruiting.
  3. Planting: Select healthy seeds or grafted seedlings from a reputable source. Dig a hole large enough to accommodate the root ball and plant the seedling at the same depth it was in the nursery. Maintain proper spacing between trees, usually around 8 to 10 meters apart, as jackfruit trees can grow large and need space for their extensive root system.
  4. Care and Maintenance: Jackfruit trees require regular watering, especially during the dry season, to establish and maintain healthy growth. Mulching around the tree helps retain moisture and suppress weed growth. Prune the tree to remove dead, diseased, or overcrowded branches. Young trees may need staking for support until they become well-established.
  5. Fertilization: Apply organic or balanced chemical fertilizers to provide essential nutrients to the trees. Jackfruit trees generally benefit from a regular supply of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. However, excessive nitrogen can result in vigorous vegetative growth but reduce fruiting. It is essential to follow the recommended fertilization schedule based on soil nutrient analysis.
  6. Pest and Disease Management: Jackfruit trees are generally resistant to pests and diseases. However, common pests like fruit flies, aphids, and mealybugs may infest the fruit. Regular monitoring and appropriate pest control measures such as organic insecticides or integrated pest management techniques are necessary to prevent damage. Pruning to maintain good air circulation can also help reduce the risk of diseases.
  7. Harvesting: Jackfruit trees typically start bearing fruit within 3 to 4 years, depending on the variety and growing conditions. The fruit is harvested when fully mature but still firm. The skin color changes from green to yellow or brownish-yellow when ripe. Carefully cut the stem close to the fruit using a sharp knife or pruning shears. Jackfruit can be consumed fresh or processed into various products such as canned fruit, chips, or desserts.
  8. Post-Harvest Handling: After harvesting, jackfruit should be handled with care to avoid bruising or damage. It is advisable to store the fruit in a cool, dry place or refrigerate it to extend its shelf life. Proper packaging and transportation are crucial to maintain the fruit’s quality and prevent spoilage.

Facts about Jackfruit for the farmer

  1. Cultivated in the tropics with rainfed irrigation: Jackfruit grows best in tropical weather. They require a dry spell during the flowering season and scattered rains throughout the year. The best places to grow jackfruit naturally is in Kerala and the easter part of India and goa. Other states have pockets where jackfruits can be grown naturally but most places will require irrigation for the tree.
  2. Easy to cultivate, harvest and market: The jackfruit has a moderate market. Being a fruit that has very low production, the market is quite steady but low. Don’t expect to cultivate 20 tonnes of jackfruit and sell them overnight in many parts of the country. The consumption of jackfruit is moderate.
  3. Easy to cultivate: The fruit requires minimal care. Apart from getting the plant to set root and establish itself, the remaining process is almost always on autopilot. Minimal irrigation and usually only rainfed, no pests or diseases which are major and minimal to no weeding. Everything a farmer can ask for.
  4. Every part of a jackfruit and its tree is useful. The fruits are consumed fresh or processed, the seeds are nutritious and is cooked or roasted. The tree itself is excellent for timber. 

Economics of Jackfruit farming. 

Jackfruit when sold costs 10 Rs per KG to the farmer. An average fruit is 10 Kilo if the maintenance and thinning is practiced. A tree , which is fully mature provides approximately 50 good fruits. Though there are trees which can produce up to 500 fruits, these fruits are usually medium sized and do not attain a weight of 10 KG or more. When thinning is practiced, the tree is allowed only up to 50 fruits per tree every season. With 40 trees per acre, the total yield is 2000 fruits per acre. Assuming that the fruits are all 10 kg , the average yield of 20 tonnes is modest. Farmers are known to cultivate up to 32 tonens and some more but even with the least yield per acre, you can assume that the farmer will get 2,00,000 rupees per year from an acre of jackfruit plantation.

There are some caveats to jackfruit plantation. 

  1. Plants from seedlings take more time to mature and production of fruits are seen only after 7-8 years. Grafted plants yield fruits in less than 5 years and some varieties are known to start fruiting in 3 years. Choosing the right variety of jackfruit is key
  2. Seedlings are not true to fruit. You may plant a seed and hope that you get a jackfruit and that you will. Unfortunately, the fruit may be completely different from the fruit you ate. 
  3. Cultivation of jackfruits need time. 5 years is a minimum time you should go with. Remember tha there is no profit for these 5 years and some maintenance is mandatory. 

But even considering all these problems, there seems to be a good profit from the time the tree becomes mature completely.

States with high Jackfruit Cultivation

  1. Kerala, India: Kerala, located in the southwestern part of India, is often referred to as the “Land of Jackfruits.” It is the leading producer of jackfruit in India, and the state’s diverse agro-climatic conditions provide favorable environments for jackfruit cultivation. Kerala is known for its wide variety of jackfruit cultivars and traditional dishes incorporating jackfruit.
  2. Tamil Nadu, India: Tamil Nadu, another state in southern India, has a significant cultivation of jackfruit. The favorable climate and availability of suitable land make it an ideal region for jackfruit farming. The state is known for producing high-quality jackfruit, and it is a major contributor to the jackfruit market in India.
  3. West Bengal, India: West Bengal, located in eastern India, has a substantial jackfruit cultivation industry. The state’s warm and humid climate, along with fertile soil, supports the growth of jackfruit trees. West Bengal is known for its diverse agricultural practices, and jackfruit farming is an important component of the state’s horticultural sector.

Economic Value of Jackfruit Plantations

The economic value of jackfruit has been steadily increasing in recent years due to its rising popularity as a versatile and nutritious fruit. Here are some key aspects of the economic value of jackfruit:

  1. Growing Demand: The demand for jackfruit has been growing, particularly in vegetarian and vegan markets, as it is often used as a meat substitute. Its fibrous texture and mild flavor make it an ideal ingredient for plant-based recipes. The increasing interest in plant-based diets and the search for alternative protein sources have contributed to the rising demand for jackfruit.
  2. Culinary Applications: Jackfruit’s versatility in culinary applications adds to its economic value. It can be used in both sweet and savory dishes, including curries, stews, stir-fries, desserts, and even ice creams. Its ability to absorb flavors and mimic the texture of meat has made it a sought-after ingredient in various cuisines worldwide.
  3. Export Potential: Jackfruit has gained popularity not only in its native regions but also in international markets. Countries like India, Thailand, Bangladesh, and Indonesia are major exporters of jackfruit and its products. The export potential of jackfruit contributes to the economic value by generating income and creating employment opportunities for farmers and exporters.
  4. Value-Added Products: Jackfruit can be processed into value-added products, increasing its economic value. The young jackfruit, when canned or frozen, can be exported or used domestically in food manufacturing. Products such as canned jackfruit, jackfruit chips, jackfruit jam, and jackfruit juice concentrate have gained market traction, offering additional revenue streams for farmers and processors.
  5. Health and Nutrition Benefits: Jackfruit’s nutritional profile adds to its economic value. It is rich in dietary fiber, vitamins (such as vitamin C and vitamin A), minerals (including potassium and magnesium), and antioxidants. The health-conscious consumer base values jackfruit as a nutritious option, contributing to its market demand and economic value.
  6. Byproduct Utilization: The various byproducts of jackfruit, such as seeds, leaves, wood, and latex, can be utilized for additional economic benefits. For example, jackfruit seeds can be processed into flour or used for culinary purposes. The wood is highly valued for its quality and can be used in construction and furniture making. By utilizing the byproducts, the overall economic value of jackfruit farming can be enhanced.
  7. Employment Opportunities: Jackfruit farming and its associated value chain offer employment opportunities. From cultivation and harvesting to processing, packaging, and marketing, the jackfruit industry creates jobs for farmers, farm laborers, processors, traders, and distributors, thus contributing to local and regional economies.

The economic value of jackfruit is multi-faceted, encompassing the increasing demand for its fruit, its culinary versatility, export potential, value-added products, health benefits, and the utilization of its byproducts. With its growing popularity and market demand, jackfruit farming can be a profitable venture for farmers, contributing to rural development and sustainable agricultural practices.

By-products of Jackfruits and their uses

  1. Seeds: Jackfruit seeds are often discarded, but they can be cooked and consumed. They have a starchy texture and can be boiled, roasted, or used in various recipes. Roasted jackfruit seeds can be enjoyed as a snack, similar to chestnuts. They can also be ground into a flour and used as a gluten-free alternative in baking.
  2. Young Jackfruit: Unripe or young jackfruit is a popular meat substitute in vegetarian and vegan dishes. Its fibrous texture and ability to absorb flavors make it an excellent substitute for pulled pork or shredded chicken. Young jackfruit is often used in curries, stews, sandwiches, and tacos. It provides a meaty texture without the actual meat, making it a versatile ingredient in plant-based cooking.
  3. Leaves: Jackfruit leaves can be used in various ways. They are sometimes used as a wrapper for steamed or grilled food items. In some cultures, jackfruit leaves are also used as plates or serving dishes. Additionally, the leaves can be used to make herbal teas or infusions with potential medicinal properties.
  4. Wood: The wood of the jackfruit tree is highly valued for its quality. It is durable, termite-resistant, and suitable for construction and furniture making. The wood is also used to make musical instruments, plywood, and decorative items. Due to its strength and attractive grain patterns, jackfruit wood is in demand for its aesthetic and functional properties.
  5. Latex: Jackfruit trees produce a milky latex-like substance, which can be used for various purposes. The latex is traditionally used in some cultures as an adhesive for mending broken pottery or as a sealant for wooden boats. It can also be used in the manufacturing of certain products like rubber, varnishes, and coatings.
  6. Bark: The bark of the jackfruit tree has been used in traditional medicine for its potential health benefits. It is believed to possess antidiabetic, antihypertensive, and anti-inflammatory properties. Extracts from the bark are used in herbal formulations and supplements.
  7. Pulp Residue: After extracting the edible fruit segments, the remaining pulp residue can be used to make jackfruit jam, jelly, or preserves. It can also be processed into juice, nectar, or concentrate. Additionally, the residue can be used as animal feed or composted for organic fertilizer.

Expenses & Profit from Jackfruit farming

Land Preperation10,000
Irrigation SEtup50,000
Saplings and Plants5000
Manure and Fertilizers20,000
Labor (planting Pit preparation etc)25000
Total Expense140,500

The above costs include all cost for 5 years. The manure and fertilizers are distributed for 5 years and are minimal. Most fertilizers are organic and very less inorganic fertilizers are used. Pesticides are usually not sprayed at all except when the fruits are nearly ready.

Yield per acre and profit from one acre of Jackfruit farming

Total Yield per acre20,000 KG
Average price per KGRs. 10
Total Revenue 200,000
Profit after expense (5th year)Rs 59,500
Profit after expense (6th Year onwards)Rs. 1,54,000

Though the profits from Jackfruit farming is not exorbitant, the potential is high. Please note that the expenses are inflated and the profits are set to minimal. Average of 30 tonnes can be attained in one acre of jackfruit cultivation which automatically increases the revenue to near 3 Lakhs per year. The expense after the first year is very low. 

Export Potential

The export potential of jackfruit has been growing in recent years due to its increasing popularity and demand in international markets. Here are some key points regarding the export potential of jackfruit:

  1. Rising Global Demand: Jackfruit has gained significant attention as a versatile and sustainable fruit, particularly in vegetarian and vegan markets. Its meat-like texture and ability to absorb flavors make it an attractive meat substitute. As plant-based diets gain popularity worldwide, the demand for jackfruit as a meat alternative has been steadily increasing.
  2. Culinary Versatility: Jackfruit’s culinary versatility adds to its export potential. It can be used in a wide range of dishes, both sweet and savory, such as curries, stews, tacos, burgers, and desserts. Its adaptability to various cuisines makes it appealing to international consumers, expanding its export opportunities.
  3. Processed Products: Jackfruit can be processed into value-added products, increasing its export potential. Young jackfruit can be canned, frozen, or dehydrated, making it convenient for international trade. Processed jackfruit products, such as canned jackfruit, jackfruit chips, and jackfruit-based sauces, are gaining popularity and are sought after by health-conscious and environmentally conscious consumers.
  4. Alternative Protein Source: The growing demand for plant-based protein sources has positioned jackfruit as a viable option. As consumers seek sustainable alternatives to meat, jackfruit’s ability to mimic the texture and versatility of meat makes it an attractive choice. Its export potential as a meat substitute is driven by the increasing demand for plant-based protein products.
  5. Increasing Consumer Awareness: Consumer awareness about the health benefits and sustainability aspects of jackfruit has contributed to its export potential. Jackfruit is rich in dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Its status as a sustainable crop, requiring fewer resources compared to animal agriculture, resonates with environmentally conscious consumers seeking ethical food choices.
  6. Exporting Countries: Several countries with significant jackfruit production have capitalized on the export potential. Countries like India, Thailand, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Brazil, and Vietnam are major exporters of jackfruit and its products. They have established export networks and trade relationships to meet the growing demand in international markets.
  7. Market Diversification: Jackfruit export potential extends beyond fresh fruit. Value-added jackfruit products, including canned jackfruit, jackfruit pulp, and jackfruit extracts, offer opportunities for market diversification. These products cater to different consumer preferences and have longer shelf lives, facilitating international trade and expanding export possibilities.
  8. Market Development Efforts: Governments, trade associations, and agricultural organizations in jackfruit-producing countries are actively promoting jackfruit’s export potential. They participate in trade fairs, conduct marketing campaigns, and provide support to exporters, facilitating market development and enhancing export opportunities.

The export potential of jackfruit is driven by its culinary versatility, increasing demand for plant-based alternatives, the availability of processed products, and the efforts of exporting countries to promote and develop the market. With its unique attributes and growing popularity, jackfruit is well-positioned to tap into the expanding global market for sustainable and plant-based food options.

Ref : https://www.apaari.org/wp-content/uploads/downloads/2012/10/Jackfruit-A-Success-Story_31-8-2012.pdf