Some 100 researchers, farmers and processors from Mahaplag, Abuyog, Baybay City, Ormoc City—all in Leyte; Calbayog City, and Southern Leyte, including those from the Department of Agriculture Regional Field Office Number 8 and the Visayas State University, convened on August 5, 2014 for the Jackfruit Congress TechnoMart and Market-Matching Event at the VSU Convention Center and experienced Jackfruit World in a day.

The activity sought to discuss the latest developments and new technologies generated by the researchers as well as the commercialization aspect of the jackfruit industry.

Dr. Carlos S. de la Cruz, Jackfruit Program Leader, recalled the different big events that were conducted to highlight jackfruit as a commodity in the region. The 1st Jackfruit Festival in August 2007 enticed some farmers to go into jackfruit production. Five years later, the Farm and Industry Encounter through Science and Technology Agenda or simply the Jackfruit FIESTA was held in August 2012 in which the event highlighted the Science and Technology-based technologies, how the technologies were used by jackfruit growers to produce good quality jackfruit fruits, and how to process jackfruit into valuable products.

Dr. de la Cruz also emphasized that “Despite the occurrence of Super Typhoon Yolanda, we are very optimistic that the jackfruit industry would be continued in our region thus the holding of this activity.” He also elaborated that the event provided an opportunity to the processors to have a face-to-face consultation with the technology generators.

Moreover, Dr. de la Cruz requested the R&D administrators present to continue including jackfruit in their agenda/program, and they should sustain continuous collaboration among stakeholders especially the local government units. Likewise, he encouraged the farmers to expand their jackfruit orchards with the use of S&T-based technologies that they may produce the needed supply of jackfruit which is good for processing and for fresh fruits that are ready for eating. He stressed the need for concerted efforts among the different stakeholders to flourish the jackfruit industry in the region.

On the other hand, Dr. Elvira C. Torres, RTD for Research of DA-RFO 8, in her inspirational message, revealed that DA has allotted certain amount as rehabilitation assistance for Yolanda victims, especially for the jackfruit growers and prospective growers. She said that the Department can give PhP10,000 each to farmers listed in the 63 municipalities who were badly hit by the super typhoon Yolanda for as long as the farmer can plant 156 jackfruit trees per hectare. They just need to register their names and their areas with the Municipal Agriculture Officer of the local government unit.

Dr. Torres added that the Rehabilitation Plan they submitted has been approved by Pres. Benigno C. Aquino, III and a big amount of money was also allotted. In fact, she said that every municipality included in the 63 municipalities should be given a complete package of intervention from production facilities to start off with a 90 horsepower tractor and all the other production support facilities, inputs and materials, at least for the next two years.    

She also thanked VSU through Dr. Jose L. Bacusmo, Dr. Othello B. Capuno, and Dr. Wolfreda T. Alesna in helping DA, for sustaining and supporting jackfruit as our commodity in the region.

VSU President Bacusmo, in his message, pointed out that the University has new jackfruit products developed from research. However, he appealed to the farmers to look at farming as a business and they need to be organized. “We did not think that we need leverage to the services offered by the government, thus we really need to be organized so that we can access the fund for rehabilitation and we need to talk for the commercialization and processing of our products,” Dr. Bacusmo averred.

The congress also paved the way for Mr. Allan B. Siano of the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development (PCAARRD)-CRD, to present the PCAARRD-DOST’s Jackfruit Industry Strategic S&T Plan. Moreover, some new technological information were also presented by the VSU jackfruit researchers.

Aside from the presentations, the jackfruit farmer-producers chanced to discuss pricing of jackfruit seedlings and ripe (fresh) jackfruit for processing and other issues. The processors also discussed the pricing of jackfruit-processed products and other related issues.