How To Grow Jack Fruit In South Despite Minimal Rainfall

As the market for jack fruit increases in South Sudan it has also led to the increase of importation of the fruit from the equatorial climatic countries like Uganda to South Sudan.

By Lioto Samuel

NIMULE, 26 February 2016[Gurtong]- Many residents in Nimule have taken up the idea to plant huge farms of such a fruit, but the setup of Nimule, being a tropical dry region will not allow for the survival of the fruit.

In an interview with farmers who has established a demonstration of a jack fruit farm in Nimule, it has for the last 5 years produced promising results.

They gave their views to farmers intending to take up the specialization of growing such a fruit in Nimule despite the heat and lack of constant rains in the region.

Just like other crops, proper land preparation is important in growing jackfruit. In sloping lands or where only a few trees are to be planted, land preparation involves the slashing of the vegetation and round weeding of the immediate peripheries of the hills.
“If a large number of trees is to be planted, it is best to prepare the land thoroughly by plowing. Holes are then dug 0.5-1 meter deep and wide,” said Dr. Jurugo Chaplain Kenyi, a botanist working with Kagelu forestry.

To him, to ensure supply of nutrients, this will be refilled with topsoil mixed with 1/3 proportion of compost. If raw manure is used or any organic substrate, planting should be delayed for at least 15 days to allow decomposition.

Field planting can be done by direct seeding or by transplanting using nursery grown potted seedlings.

“Potted seedlings should be out-planted usually before they are one year old or before the roots leak out of the pot because the seedlings are sensitive to root disturbance. Bare- root transplanting is inapplicable to jackfruit.” He said.

When gurtong’s Nimule correspondent interviewed Dr. Martha Bbosa, a plant expert working with the national agricultural research organization in Nimule, she said that Jackfruit can be planted with a spacing of 8-12 meters in square, rectangular or triangular pattern. This is equivalent to a population density of about 70 to 156 plants per hectare.

To her, the exact population, however, can only be determined by preparing a planting lay-out plan showing the positions of the hills, plant-to-plant spacing, and the distances of rows to the boundaries. This lay-out plan is similar to a construction blueprint which should be made before actually starting the farm activities in growing jackfruit.

“Fertilizer application is always a component of growing jackfruit or any crop on a continuing basis. Farm manures are applied in increasing doses from 10 to 30 kg per year as the tree matures.” Said Dr. Martha

“To ensure maximum yields of fruiting trees, complete fertilizer is applied at the rate of 1-3 kg per tree per year. Addition of potash is also generally recommended for fruiting trees. The rate is split into two equal doses, the first application preferably during the onset and the second just before the end of the rainy season. If irrigation is available, fertilizer application can be programmed every 6 months.” She added.

“Regular watering should be done, unless rainfall is sufficient, from planting until the seedlings are fully established. Sufficient water is likewise needed during dry months when the trees are in the flower bloom and fruit development stages.” She added.

Dr. Jurugo also said that ring weeding is practiced to keep the immediate periphery of the tree free of weeds. This operation is a necessity in growing jackfruit at least during the first 3 to 4 years after planting. The weeds can be piled around the tree to serve as mulch which will conserve moisture and prevent the germination of weed seeds.

“The height of jackfruit, especially those raised from seed, can be regulated by cutting the main trunk about 2-3 meters from the ground. Early cutback of the main trunk can also be done to induce production of branches, allowing 4 or 5 branches to develop which are evenly distributed when viewed from the top. Properly trimmed, jackfruit grows with an open center which allows better light penetration.” Said Dr. Jurugo.

“Weak, dead, diseased and overlapping branches should be removed. This is to promote light penetration and air movement, and to prevent buildup of insect pests and disease pathogen population. Branches are also removed if they hinder access to the fruits during wrapping and harvesting.” He added.

Mr. Desmond Obbo, a Nigerian consultant on crop and animal reproduction working with the department of crop and animal husbandry in Nimule said that, it is desirable that the spaces between the rows of the jackfruit trees are cultivated and used for the production of either annual or perennial intercrops or both. Examples of such intercrops are citrus, banana, pineapple, corn, peanut (groundnut) and other pulses, spices and vegetables. This will maximize farm productivity in addition to the benefits of proper weed control management. If not, leguminous cover crops can be seeded.

Obbo concluded that, young fruits can be harvested for vegetable 2-3 months after fruit set or when the seeds are hardened. For mature fruits, selection is based on the following indices: (1) hollow sound when the fruit is tapped; (2) change in the color of the skin from pale green to greenish-yellow or brownish-yellow; (3) emission of a strong aroma; and (4) flattening of the spines with wider spaces. The stalk (peduncle) of the fruit should be cut with a sharp knife and the fruit is gently lowered to the ground.

The sale of a jack fruit in Juba market goes for 66 south Sudanese pounds wholesomely, yet the demand is so high in hotels and supermarkets like the vegetable and meat products (VAMP) and Penacle supermarkets. Said the fruit experts.

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