The Meghalaya government, which is keen on marketing jackfruit available in plenty in the state, has entrusted a hotel management institute here to popularise it, a government official said.
Popularising the fruit will also create livelihood opportunities for jackgruit growers in rural and urban areas, the official said. Meghalaya is the second state after Tripura in the North East region to have taken the initiative to explore the potential of the largest tree-borne fruit seriously, according to Additional Chief Secretary K N Kumar.
“The IHM is the first and only institute of repute to try out over 100 recipes using jackfruits,” its director Vijay Kumar said. He said the institute is guided by the state government, which intends to market the fruit.
At the jackfruit festival held recently, the IHM team displayed and sold various products made of jackfruit, such as cupcakes, pastries, chips, juice, wines, biscuits, jackfruit pickles, curry and other culinary items.
According to Kumar, the jackfruit biryani was adjudged the best and the item can even make up for chicken. He hoped the item is accepted in the food outlets in the state. The tourism department is in contact with leading hotels in the state and has floated the idea of serving jackfruit dishes by them and other food outlets, an officer said.
Often ignored for its bulkiness and strong aroma, the jackfruit has been declared an important fruit in the state and the government has come up with a policy document for a five year intensive mission with an aim to generate employment opportunities for nearly over 80,000 farmers.
Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma had launched the draft policy for the mission and the Rs 79 crore mission is likely to be launched before Independence Day this year. Kumar said that the state loses about Rs 500 crore a year due to underutilisation of the “low input and low cost fruit”.
The market is increasing by about 600 per cent in the US, 350 per cent in the UK in the past decade and about 17 per cent annually in China, he said. The market for jackfruits is increasing by about 17 per cent and 600 per cent annually in China and the US respectively, he said. It had risen to 350 per cent in the UK in the past decade, he said.