The humble jackfruit and its myriad health and curative properties seemed to have held governor P. Sathasivam in thrall when declared that he would ask the government to set up a jackfruit promotion board. This was to bring about a comprehensive awareness of the immense potential the fruit had in terms of health benefits, he said while inaugurating a meeting held in connection with the National Jackfruit Festival organized by the Aranmula Heritage Trust at Aranmula on Wednesday.
The governor rued the fact that when people in Tamil Nadu and elsewhere were ready to shell out up to Rs 400 for a jackfruit, it is being wasted in Kerala where the fruit grew in luxurious abundance. This should to be avoided by introducing novel ways of preserving the fruit, he said.
The fruit ought to be an integral part of all feasts, the governor said. If the fruit were to be made the most important item on every menu, that would be the ideal way of creating an awareness about it and its untold benefits, he added. In fact, the first book on Kerala’s rich flora and its medicinal properties, the Hortus Malabaricus, published 400 years ago, had references to the health properties of jackfruit, he said. This proved that people in those good old days were pretty much aware of how useful a fruit it was, he said.
The governor added that over time, people started ignoring the immense potential of the fruit just as they chose to give up on several other crops. It would be a great idea to plant jackfruit and mango trees on pieces of land left barren and fallow, he said. Though the jackfruit was in great demand in East Asian countries, the production output could seldom meets the demand, he said. He stressed the need for a conscious effort to increase its output.
The need of the hour was to preserve and use our entire fruit wealth, said BJP state president Kummanam Rajasekharan, who presided over the meeting.
The governor honored Shree Padre, regarded as the global ambassador of jackfruit promotion by presenting him the Panasa Sreshta Puraskar. Dr B. Padmakumar, chief of general medicine, Parippilly Medical College, spoke on the main topic – the health benefits of jackfruit.
James Joseph, owner of the Jackfruit 365 set-up, Dr Ajay Kumar, IMA vice president Dr Sabu Sugathan, Dr Satish Kumar, organizing committee chairman Ajaykumar Valyuzhathil, journalist S.D. Venukumar and general convenor Prasad Anandhabhavan spoke.