Demand for Siddu jackfruit saplings touches one lakh

The unique variety is grown by a farmer in Tumakuru district

A 36-year-old unique jackfruit tree in Cheluru village of Tumakuru district is creating waves in the horticultural sector as the demand for its saplings from different States has touched one lakh. What’s more, it’s owner is bound to get a revenue of ₹1 crore from this single tree if he can cater to the demand completely, which is a Herculean task.

This jackfruit variety with deep coppery red flakes, which are not only tasty but also have high nutritive value, had hit the headlines after the Indian Institute of Horticultural Research (IIHR) identified this unique variety grown in the farm of S.S. Paramesha and named it ‘Siddu’ after his father who had planted it.

The IIHR had also nominated him as ‘the custodian of genetic diversity’ for this particular variety in 2017, and signed a Memorandum of Understanding with him for multiplying the variety through grafting. As per the the MoU, the IIHR will sell the saplings under its banner and provide 75% of the proceeds to the farmer.

“The demand for this variety has touched one lakh, but we can only provide about 10,000 saplings this year,” says Dr. Karunakaran, head of IIHR’s Tumakuru-based Central Horticultural Experimental Station (CHES) and the scientist who identified this unique tree.

When all the one lakh saplings are supplied, the farmer is bound to get ₹one crore as his share of revenue.

“I have already sold 4,500 saplings on my own at a rate of ₹200 a plant and earned a profit of ₹7 lakh (after deducting an expenses of ₹2 lakh). Also, I have got a share of ₹4 lakh so far from the IIHR for the saplings they have sold,” says Paramesha, who is excited about his jackfruit tree making it big.

Dr. Karunakaran notes that even an Australian company had shown interest in procuring the saplings of Siddu. But the Indian Council of Agricultural Research had turned down the request as norms do not allow sale to a foreign company.

He says that the Siddu variety yields very small fruits with an average weight of 2.44 kg as against 10-20 kg of normal varieties. According to the bio-chemical analysis, it has high lycopin content of 2 mg per 100 gm of pulp, as against 0.2 mg in normal varieties.

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