The latexless jackfruit from Malaysia has become a favorite variety for planting in the Philippines. So many have given us feedback that they really enjoy eating its plump and juicy arils. They also love its early maturity, starting to bear fruit as early as 2.5 years from planting if given the right care.
MOSTLY HOBBY FARMERS – Unfortunately most of the early planters are hobby farmers who planted just a few trees. Today, however,a good number of farmers are realizing that jackfruit could be a better choice than mango because of the Kurikong menace and many other problems. A businessman in Batangas is starting to plant latexless jackfruit in big numbers. So is a Manila businessman who is planting latexless jackfruit commercially in the Ilocos.
Renita Beronilla, a lady agriculturist connected with a seed company in Bulacan is increasing her latexless jackfruit. She has ordered more seedlings of the same plus the new RedOrange selection.
HAPPY YAYAN MERCADO – Of course many hobby farmers today are still planting the latexless jackfruit, including Ed Mercado and his wife Dr. Yayan of Angat, Bulacan. They used to produce tilapia and hito fingerlings but have shifted to other money-making projects. Lately Dr. Yayan sent me pictures of their first harvest of latexless jackfruit, including a 20-kilo fruit. Another photo shows her granddaughter Calla happily approving the beautiful arils shown in the fruit sliced crosswise.
UNTOLD STORY – We believe we are the first to propagate and distribute seedlings of he latexless jackfruit in the Philippines which we are still doing to the present time. We are not exactly sure whether it was 1995 or 1996 that we got our seeds. That doesn’t matter that much now.
At that time, our friend Gloria Balderrama who has been in the flower business, growing and exporting, bought several boxes of orchids from her Malaysian supplier named Lee. As Mr. Lee’s gesture he included in the shipment one whole fruit which he told Gloria to be something special.
THOUGHTFUL LADY – The thoughtful lady that she is, Gloria divided the fruit into four. She gave us one fourth of the bottom section, one-fourth to Kerwin Padua who managed a big farm in Pila, Laguna, one fourth to a lady friend, and retained one fourth for herself.
What happened? I was the only one who was able to propagate the seeds. Kerwin Padua did not have a chance. His house help had boiled the seeds for eating. Gloria was too busy with her flowers, she must have forgotten all about her langka seeds. The lady friend was not in the plant business so she never cared to germinate her seeds.
CRAZY IDEA – If I dispersed my seedlings to selected friends from our Agri-Kapihan forum, I could have fruits without me doing the planting. The arrangement would be that for every seedling I gave, the planter would return to me one fruit. Yes, only one fruit, nothing more once the trees are bearing. I thought that was a great idea and I really dispersed about 20 seedlings. Three seedlings were given to a lady who had a farm in Mabitac, Laguna.
Three years later, the Mabitac lady came to me praising to high heavens the good eating quality of the fruits of the seedlings that I gave her. It appeared, however, that she had all forgotten the verbal arrangement we had. I never reminded her about that anymore, after all we were producing a lot of fruits in our farm in Teresa, Rizal. It was really a crazy idea but it was fun nevertheless. We came to realize that it would be better to put agreements in black and white, not just by word of mouth.
VISITORS FROM FAR AND WIDE – We have met a lot of friends because of the latexless jackfruit. That include Zena Arenas of Los Angeles, California; Apple Wang of Flying Cow Ranch in Miaoli, Taiwan; and local farmers. We remember a group of PBA players led by Robert Jaworski who were probably curious about the latexless jackfruit and other exotic fruits in our farm.
To sum it up, the latexless jackfruit has been a most rewarding variety for us and for sure to so many others.