Kasamba launches drive to promote jackfruit farming
Many of us enjoy the sweet taste of jackfruit or fenne as it is locally known but have never paid attention to its health and economic value.
There are hardly no farmers that consider fenne as an agricultural enterprise apart from having a tree or two in our plantations or living it to grow as a wild tree in the shrubs, and later on harvesting the ripe fruits to eat.
Until recently when Mathias Kasamba started to speak passionately about this fruit, many had not paid attention to its economic value.
Given the fruit’s health and economic benefits, Kasamba, the Chairperson of East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) committee on Agriculture, Natural resources and Tourism, is championing large scale growing of the fruit tree.
On his farm located at Ttome – Kakuuto in Kyotera district, Kasamba has planted hundreds of ‘fenne’ trees along the 700-acre farm’s pathways.
“It is long term planning that I embarked on after I did research over the internet which revealed that the fruit has important nutritional and health values,” Kasamba said.
According to a website (http://health.facty.com) jackfruit is full of nutrients including vitamin A, vitamin B3, and vitamin C along with iron, potassium and magnesium among others which are vital in boosting the immune system.
Its richness in vitamin C gives it properties that help fight against viral and bacterial infections.
It is also an excellent source of phytonutrients like lignans, isoflavones, and saponins, all of which have anti-aging properties and the ability to protect against cancer.
Jackfruit also helps cure digestive disorders including constipation and ulcers because of its high fibre content.
“I have launched a campaign to plant jackfruit as a ready food on the farm. My target is have 2 million jackfruit trees in the community within five years,” Kasamba said.
He has already established nurseries of the fruit tree seedlings that he is so far distributing free of charge.
“With time, we may find that jackfruit is more profitable than coffee. Take an example, if you have 1,000 trees, each can give you an average of 2 bunches every week which translates into 104,000 bunches a year. If each bunch is sold at Shs 2,000, you will earn Shs 208m,” Kasamba said.
From his farm, he has started making wine out of the jackfruits which he says is more tasty than wine made from other fruits.