Update: The article originally stated that 2 to 3 litres of lemon juice is required for the packaging process, It has been corrected to ‘one lemon juice in one litre of water is needed for the process. The water can be used for 10 jackfruits.’ The error is regretted – TBI Team
In October last year, a techie turned agriculturist, Yathish Shetty from Bengaluru, along with his wife, launched an online portal ‘Local Farmer’ exclusively for farmers to sell their produce directly to the customers.
Around the same time, 150 kilometres away in Chikmagalur district of Karnataka, Shivanna, an engineer turned ecologist, was collecting the seeds of jackfruit to make ‘Jafee’ or an alternative of coffee.
Yathish and Shivanna, however, shared the same goal, helping the farmers of the country.
The two Kannadigas came together recently to help farmers increase their incomes by helping them package India’s most underrated fruit, jackfruit.
An article in DowntoEarth states that almost Rs 2,000 crore worth of Jackfruit goes to waste every year in Karnataka. One of the reasons behind the wastage is the way the jackfruit is packaged.
However, on an interesting note, jackfruit is in high demand because of its nutritional value. From strengthening of bones and nerves to eliminating the risk of cancer, the giant fruit has several health benefits.
To add value to jackfruits, Yathish got in touch with Shivanna and organised a training programme for farmers who are a part of the Local Farmer. The training that lasted for 3-4 hours was about how to prepare ready-to-cook unripe jackfruit packets.
Speaking to The Better India (TBI), 33-year-old Yathish says,
Jackfruit is a difficult fruit to deal with. People prefer buying it in packets. We know that there is a demand, so we are now trying to create the supply. I contacted Shivanna, who organised the session.
An expert with fruits and vegetables, 65-year-old Shivanna has undertaken similar sessions in the past that has helped hundreds of farmers cut down wastage of jackfruits.
The process of packing the jackfruit is simple.
All one has to do is cut one jackfruit open with a stainless steel knife and put it in a utensil. Squeeze one lemon in one litre of water. The lemon juice dissolves the sticky gum and prevents the fruit from turning brown. This water can be used multiple times for around 10 jackfruits. Once the peel is off, the pieces are packed in a pouch and sealed. The shelf life of the pieces is 3-4 days, Shivanna tells TBI.
Shivanna is known for his deep interest in jackfruits in his hometown. In the session, he also spoke about the health drink ‘Jaffee’ made from the seeds of jackfruit, “Jackfruit serves multiple purposes so wasting them should be avoided and to educate the farmers about its true value, I also told them about Jaffe.”
Highly impressed with the technique of Shivanna, Yatish is soon going to organise a similar session for other farmers that are registered with Local Farmer. The online portal has 50 registered farmers and 1000+ customer base.
Talking about the objective of the online portal, Yatish says,
The whole purpose behind starting an online platform for the farmers was to cut out the middle-men and help people buy fruits and vegetables directly from the farmers. A farmer-consumer connection can be beneficial for both, as well as strengthen local economy and ecology, bring transparency, traceability and better prices for farmers’ products.
From vegetables, fruits, dairy products to spices and pulses, the Local Farmer sells fresh produce to its customers whenever there is a demand which means that farmers will only harvest if there is an order.
Currently, this website supports farmers from Dakshina Kannada, and Udupi districts of Karnataka and products are available for supply in South Bengaluru, Dakshina Kannada and Udupi. Soon, the services will be available in other locations.
If you wish to get in touch with Local Farmer, you can contact them here.
(Edited by Saiqua Sultan)