Giving jack of all fruits its due: Anil Kumar of Puttur shows how

Florine Roche
Daijiworld Media Network - Mangaluru

Mangaluru, Mar 18: Summer is here and with that the jackfruit-mango-cashew season has begun. Many of us get nostalgic at the very mention of jackfruit as it takes us back to the good old days of our childhood. We all treasure our childhood memories and revisiting those reflections through a fruit which is invariably associated with our younger days, would be quite exciting. However, it is easier said than done. These days, we must be regretting missing the ripe tasty sweet fleshy and aromatic pods of jackfruit that we ate at our grandparents, parent’s homes or in the homes of our relatives. The reasons for this are many. Apart from people moving out of the rural areas in search of greener pastures there is also the possibility that the particular jackfruit tree that bore those sweet pods of jackfruit might have died with the passage of time leaving us only with the sweet memories of its fruit.

What is lost is no doubt lost forever. The saving grace amidst all the awful news is that if you have any jackfruit tree whose fruit is known for its unique taste, sweetness, crispness, colour, texture, aroma or unseasonal fruit bearing capacity and such qualities and you want to replicate such a tree elsewhere it is possible to do so. Grafting is one of the time-tested methods of doing so and has been adopted in most plants.

But Anil Kumar of Puttur who has been passionate about conserving and distribution of different breeds of jackfruits has successfully introduced bud grafting to jackfruit which is not easy to achieve. If Anil comes to know about a jackfruit tree known for its sweet or off-season fruit bearing and qualities he goes there to get a small but suitable branch of that particular tree and then does bud grafting resulting in creating 10 to 12 saplings in the process. "If I come to know about the extraordinary qualities of any jackfruit tree either I go there or advice people to get me a branch of that tree. They have to follow some simple rules while cutting the branch. With a branch of one foot long I can do 10 to 12 saplings depending on the number of eye-buds on a branch," explains Anil Kumar.

A passion for conservation

"It was the taste of the jackfruit I tasted during my childhood days that bolstered me to do some experiments and also kindled my interest in jackfruit," Anil points out. He recalls that his mother, who was supplementing the family income by folding coconut leaves used for roofing, was keeping juicy and flesh carpels of jackfruit ready for him when he returned from school. As I grew up I realised that I was missing the taste, the sweetness and even the flavour of the jackfruit I enjoyed during my younger days. That is when I began to evince keen interest to experiment in bud grafting and also the ways and means to safeguard old tress known for their tasty fruits," Anil reveals.

Journalist and rain water harvest specialist Sri Padre says, "Anil is quite passionate about conserving and developing diverse breeds of jackfruit and has been working laboriously to come out with newer varieties. While grafting and bud grafting is common in Kerala in rubber and nutmeg trees, success rate of bud grafting in jackfruit is dismally low all over India". For Anil his doggedness and his unflinching devotion has yielded good dividend and he is happy about his efforts bearing fruit. He is continuing his efforts to identify conserve and provide newer varieties of jackfruit.

"Jack Anil" as Anil Kumar is popularly known for his enduring work to safeguard older and develop newer varieties of jackfruit trees, is unwavering in his commitment to popularise jackfruit. He originally hails from Thiruvanantapuram but is settled in Puttur for the last three decades. The tag "Jack Anil" is quite apt to Anil who bubbling with energy and is passionate about his involvement, preoccupation, experiment and research has come out with rare breeds of Jackfruit plants. Now he is the proud owner of some exceptional breeds of jackfruit plants and has been felicitated for his efforts by NGO’s and government organisations. He has also been the recipient of many awards for his efforts.

Anil who owns "Ninnikallu Nursery" in Puttur, had recently participated in the horticulture exhibition held at Kadri Park at the behest of horticulture officials. He has developed on his own many varieties of jackfruit plants and was quite elated by the demand for different varieties of jackfruit saplings from the general public. It is a pity that though people want to grow jackfruit trees, they are unable to do so due to lack of space within the city limits. "It is really wonderful to know that the general public is interested in having a jackfruit tree in their backyard. Though they want to buy a sapling they cannot do so due to lack of space and some of them even cry when they go back empty-handed. A few satisfy their desire by opting for dwarf varieties of trees. Though they bear fruit they fall off soon after," Anil recounts.

Name says it all

Jack Anil now has many varieties of Jackfruit that includes the now famous ‘gum-less variety’, the all season variety "Sadananda Halasu," "maharajapuram," Sornadu variety, the much in demand and highly attractive red flesh jackfruit "Chandra halasu," (named so as the ripe fruits resembles the colour of full moon) Rudrakshi, Singapore variety, early-season-fruit, "Prashanthi," "Ananya" and many more. GKVK itself has released more than 20 varieties after intensive efforts to identify rare varieties and Jack Anil says he worked in tandem with Prof Shamalamma Reddy of GKVK in zeroing on these varieties. "The red flesh variety has high market appeal and has good demand from the public," says Anil who is quite euphoric about the overwhelming response he received from the public.

Anil has directed his efforts to preserve some of the well-known varieties of jackfruit trees and is now involved in a project of Kerala government. Kerala government has promised to give him 10 to 20 acres of land on lease and Anil has to grow different varieties of jackfruit trees in this land on a large scale. Anil says he is ready for the challenge ahead and has begun his preparations. "I have to select over 1000 varieties from farmers and agricultural experts from different parts. DNA tests will be done on these various varieties at GKVK to avoid duplication of varieties. It is a 5 to 6 year long project and would facilitative different varieties of jackfruit in one place, the first of its kind in the entire world".

For most of us jackfruit was an inseparable part of our growing up days. At a time when having three meals a day was unthinkable it was the jackfruit that provided us the fodder and infinite energy to go on with our chores. Walking a few kms to school was sheer fun when we could get hold of the easy-to-open the ‘rosal’ (softer) variety on one of the numerous trees that crossed our path. Jackfruit gum could be invariably found on children’s bodies especially on hands and mouth and it was accepted as a normal. There are instances of children feeding on jackfruit for all the three meals during the jackfruit season. May be for this very reason there is a kind of inferiority complex associated with this fruit among the present generation.
How can anyone forget the cooked, salted and dried Jackfruit seeds which we called "santhani"? Santhani was our only source of eatable during those rainy days when there was hardly anything to eat.

Of course, today’s children cannot fathom the very idea of the fun associated with such activities and there is also no need for them to depend on it to satisfy their hunger.


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Comment on this article

  • Kirti, Kundapur

    Mon, Apr 24 2017

    I recently got to know about a fast growing variety Named "Prakash Chandra", a Malaysian variety which has been procured by Mr. Anantha Murthy Javali, "Ankur Farm" Ripponpet, Shimoga District.
    This variety gives Saffron to red coloured bulbs, quite tasty and that too WITHIN TWO YEARS of planting the sapling. However the plant needs to grow sturdy for about 3 to 4 years to bear many no. of fruits.
    He has a lot of special varieties of jackfruits including Gumless, All season, Off season, twice bearing, Yellow and Red Rudrakshi, Chandra Halasu, Singapore All season (Wadi), Mankalale Red and so many more and the best thing is that he has Fruit Yielding Mother plants/Original trees of all these varieties in his farm.
    Definitely a must visit for all the Jack Lovers.

    DisAgree Agree [1] Reply Report Abuse

  • moses anthoniz, 435b,Naligama ,Ragama. Srilanka

    Fri, Jun 17 2016

    I do grafting as a hobby and I have mastered the art of grafting jack. I would like to have contact to Mr. Anil.
    Here I have a very sweet variety of jack fruit I graft.

    DisAgree [1] Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • SasidharanPothanamala, Kottayam/Australia

    Sat, May 28 2016

    Hi Anilkumar
    Can you provide 1000 best Jackfruit plants to me next year please
    we arranging a community activity to distribute 1000 plants in our village next year.Please quote the minimum price per plant you can supply to us
    We will give advance
    Also give advice to instruction to plant this beautiful trees
    Sasidharan Pothanamala

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • M.M.Shivakumar, Thegathoor, Kushalnagar.

    Sat, May 14 2016

    On 6th May Ivisited ur nursery, Its vry nice, I brought 4 jack saplings,pls guide me about manuring both organic and chemical. TanQ.

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • surendran m, panoor kannur Dt

    Wed, Mar 09 2016

    How can I reach you is plants available now How much a plant cost

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • C D Souza , Mangaluru

    Thu, Mar 19 2015

    Jack Anils photo is there in the second and third photographs. Search for him on facebook as jack anil.

    DisAgree Agree [5] Reply Report Abuse

  • Jossie Mascarenhas, Bajpe / Dubai

    Thu, Mar 19 2015

    My most favorite fruit. Thanks

    DisAgree Agree [10] Reply Report Abuse

  • ad, mangaluru

    Wed, Mar 18 2015

    the blessings of the third world. 1st world eats can food.

    DisAgree [6] Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse

  • alwyn, CANADA

    Thu, Mar 19 2015

    first world also has fresh food exported to third world poor nations to feed the hungry and homeless. meat product, dairy products, water, fruits apples, grapes, strawberry, raspberry, blueberry, plumb, pears vegetables, various types of beans, rice and list goes on.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [1] Reply Report Abuse

  • ad, mangaluru

    Thu, Mar 19 2015

    left overs, boxed on a boxing day?

    DisAgree [1] Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • martina, Belmond -USA

    Wed, Mar 18 2015

    My child wood memories came to me when I Read the article about the jack was my poor peoples food.

    DisAgree [2] Agree [19] Reply Report Abuse

  • Well wisher, Udupi

    Wed, Mar 18 2015

    A lesson to learn for all anti social elements,drug peddlars,hate spreaders, and communal rioters,look at this guy engrossed in conservation of trees, you are amazing. Keep it up,God bless you.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [15] Reply Report Abuse

  • n shetty, mangaluru

    Wed, Mar 18 2015

    His cell number is in one of the Hoardings behind him in one or two Photographs....

    DisAgree [4] Agree [14] Reply Report Abuse

  • SK, Mangalore

    Wed, Mar 18 2015

    Keep up the good work.... DW, if possible kindly provide the contact details.....NICE

    DisAgree [4] Agree [12] Reply Report Abuse

  • Antony D'Cunha, Permude/Muscat

    Wed, Mar 18 2015

    Very inspiring article on so called poor man's seasonal food/fruit with a possibility of finding place in rich man's platter due to current awareness on its nutritional values. With timely support and promotion by the related agencies we can explore potential market for Jack fruits and its value added product range. Such moves can motivate our young minds to take up farming as a profession to bridge the rural urban divide.

    DisAgree [4] Agree [18] Reply Report Abuse

  • Proud Indian, Mumbai/Kulshekar

    Wed, Mar 18 2015

    Yammmmyyyyyyy Pelakai. Mouth watering. Can eat full pelakai at one stretch.

    Namma Mangaluru rocks !! Proud to be a Kudla.

    DisAgree [7] Agree [27] Reply Report Abuse

  • eness, manglore

    Wed, Mar 18 2015

    Keep up the Good work.....
    Where in Mangalore will we get the Saplings....

    DisAgree [3] Agree [23] Reply Report Abuse

  • Chandrashekar Manampady, Manampady, Mulky

    Wed, Mar 18 2015

    Thanks Daijiworld. Good article, which cherished my childhood. will you please provide Jack Anil's mobile or address.

    DisAgree [4] Agree [29] Reply Report Abuse


    Wed, Mar 18 2015

    Pelakayi Raja...

    DisAgree [6] Agree [24] Reply Report Abuse

  • loboag, mangaluru/mumbai

    Wed, Mar 18 2015

    Great! Nice to see the saplings of jack fruit. Could you provide the address of the nursery as well as cost/prices of the saplings?

    DisAgree [6] Agree [22] Reply Report Abuse

  • sid, mangalore

    Wed, Mar 18 2015

    nice sir , keep up the good work . more success for you

    DisAgree [5] Agree [39] Reply Report Abuse

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