Incessant rains and chilly weather were no deterrent to people of Mysuru who made a beeline to the jackfruit festival on Saturday to savour multiple varieties of the fruit the names of which are as exotic as they taste.
Organised by Sahaja Samruddha in association with Rotary Club of Mysore West, SWISSAID and FiBL, the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture, the two-day festival is being held at Nanjaraja Bahadur Choultry.
The festival showcased varieties like Rudrakshi Halasu, Siddu Kempu, Byrachandra, Sarva Ruthu, Shankara, Varada Sree, Tubagere Halasu, Thai Red, Vietnam Super Early, Gumless Jack, Nagachandra ,Lalbagh Madura, Ramachandra and many more.
There was also brisk sale of saplings of jackfruit tree.
Krishnaprasad of Sahaja Samruddha which promotes organic farming and documents agro-diversity, said despite its myriad benefits, jackfruit continues to be an underutilised and neglected fruit due to lack of awareness.
In these times of climate change where agricultural income is plummeting, tree-based forestry needs to be encouraged and jackfruit tree is ideal for it, he added.
KSOU Vice-Chancellor S. Vidyashankar inaugurated the festival and called upon the consumers to increase the income of the farmers and rural women by using the value-added ingredients of the jackfruit. Theatre artiste Mandya Ramesh said the culture surrounding cultivation and consumption of jackfruit was disappearing even in rural areas and needs to be revived given its prospects.
The other objective of the festival was to showcase the possible value additions to jackfruit that could be made and sold as processed food for which there is a market. Creating a larger customer or consumer base for jackfruit is critical to encourage more farmers to take up its cultivation, according to the organisers.
Hence a slew of farmer groups and entrepreneurs engaged in making and distribution of jackfruit-based products had their stalls at the venue and elicited warm response from the visitors. More than 30 farmer groups have displayed different varieties of jackfruit and other value-added products apart from millets, pulses, organic seeds, desi rice, cold press oil etc.
A jackfruit culinary contest will be held on Sunday at noon and a jackfruit eating competition will be held at 2 p.m.