PHILIPPINES: Grow pummelo and jackfruit in your farm

by Zac Sarian, Manila Bulletin



A lady lawyer who is developing a farm in northern Luzon consulted us on what’s new in fruit trees. She said she has bought practically every variety from our nursery in Teresa, Rizal.


We learned that she is developing about eight hectares and has already planted a few of each kind from our collection. Well, we asked her about her purpose in developing her farm. Is it just a hobby farm or is she interested in producing commercially for profit.?


Of course, she said, she wants the farm to be profitable. To which we recommended that she better select one or two crops that she can grow in really big volume. We told her that if she just grows only a few of each kind, she will not make any profit. No big buyer will go to her to buy her harvest. Whatever little harvest that she will make will not be worthwhile bringing to the market because the cost of transporting will probably be more than the value of her harvest.


We discouraged her to plant mango because there are so many problems in growing mangoes. Mango requires a lot of pesticides and the shelf life of the fruit is very short. Besides, if the harvest coincides with the peak season, the fruits will command a very low price. The buyers will take advantage by offering a price below production cost.


Instead, we recommended two fruit crops that offer a number of advantages. One of them is pummelo, the right variety of pummelo. We told her that there a lot of pummelo strains grown in the Philippines. Many of them are inferior such as those with sour fruits. But there are superior ones like the Magallanes variety from Davao, the imported varieties from Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia.


The beauty about pummelo, we told her, is that if you grow the right kind, you will get a high price. In supermarkets in Manila, it is not unusual to see fruits priced at R140 a kilo. Of course, it could be cheaper in the provinces but if you really have a superior variety, you can dictate the price.


Pummelo has a long shelf life so that it can be stored longer without worrying about spoilage. More trees can be planted in one hectare compared to mango. Also, you don’t have to spray the pummelo tree with a flower inducer to make it bear fruit. The flowers are not damaged by rain or shower. And it is possible to produce two harvests in one year.


Pummelo has also a shorter gestation period compared to mango. Grafted mango trees will usually take six to seven years to produce a commercial crop. On the other hand, grafted pummelo will produce a commercial crop in four years. If you plant the marcot that is already  big, fruiting can be expected in two or three years.


JACKFRUIT – This is one fruit that should be produced in really big volume because processors are in need of big volume on a year-round basis. As of now, local processors are depending on imports from countries like Vietnam.


The truth is that only the other week, an importer from Cebu had bought 20 tons of frozen jackfruit pulp from MIT International, the biggest jackfruit processor in Ho Chi Minh City that we visited earlier this year.


Some of the imported pulp will be made into dried jackfruit by a big processing plant in Cebu. Smaller portions of the imported pulp will be used in making sweet preserves while some will be used in making halo-halo and “turon.”


Jackfruit is less problematic to grow than mango. And there are varieties that produce superior pulp like the so-called latexless varieties from Malaysia and Thailand.


Source: Manila Bulletin

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