THE Department of Agriculture (DA) said it hopes to increase domestic production of jackfruit, known by its Filipino name langka, to cut down on a P500-million annual import bill.
“The lowly langka, a fruit tree that is native to the Philippines, India and other Southeast Asian countries, now looms as the next star of the country’s high value crops as demand for the fruit has increased over the years,” Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel F. Piñol said in a Facebook post over the weekend.
Demand for jackfruit ranges from the ice cream and dessert industries. Globally, it is also an emerging ingredient in recipes targeted at vegans and other healthy eaters.
“Farmers cannot supply the needed volume resulting in the importation of about P500 million worth of frozen jackfruit every year from Vietnam and Thailand,” Mr. Piñol said.
As such, the DA hopes to encourage farmers in hilly areas to plant jackfruit, which has the benefit of also addressing soil erosion.
He also directed regional ofices to encourage the planting of the “Abuyog Sweet” variety, which features firm, sweet flesh.
The official said he will also encourage nursery operators to acquire “Abuyog Sweet” jackfruit seed from his own farm in Mindanao to broaden its adoption. — Janina C. Lim