Participants at maiden jackfruit fair, exhibiting jackfruit products.

• Donates 500 seedlings of jackfruit

Abasifreke Effiong

Women in Nature Conservation Organisation (WINCO),leading the promotion of jackfruit cultivation as a means of economic empowerment and addressing climate change and biodiversity crises, wants Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr Umo Eno, to adopt jackfruit plantation development project in his ARISE agenda.

At its maiden jackfruit fair held in Uyo on Thursday 12th October, the organisation announced donation of 500 seedlings of jackfruit for takeoff of the project.

WINCO is an indigenous women-led non-governmental organisation dedicated to environmental conservation, regeneration, restoration, agro-forestry, renewable energy, capacity building and mentoring of future conservation leaders, whose works are supported by the Global Landscape Forum.

It launched a-2 hectare jackfruit plantation in Essien Udim local government area recently.

The organisation is mobilising rural women in the State to embrace cultivation of jackfruit, develop its value-chain and work towards building a cottage industry for jackfruit products.

Chief Executive Officer of Women in Nature Conversation Organisation, Mrs Emem Umoh, called on Akwa Ibom State government to donate land for jackfruit plantation project, appealed for support for the innovation.

“Jackfruit production and value addition are under-developed despite the fruit tree’s availability, high yield and nutritional value, nutraceutical and techno-functional properties.

“I respectfully call on African leaders, policy makers, financiers, indigenous leaders, women leaders, practitioners and the private sector to support this innovation. Above these, I appeal to His Excellency the Executive Governor of Akwa State; Pastor Umoh Eno to adopt Jackfruit Plantation development as part of the ARISE strategic action plan.”

At media parley during the fair, Mrs Umoh, said WINCO is blazing the trail in jackfruit cultivation, value chain development in Africa, stating that people are “fast embracing jackfruit products” with its snacks and nuts being “the best selling.”

According to her, the tree and fruits are proven important for food, environment and health particularly in boosting immune system, protection against cancer, aiding digestion, lowering blood pressure as well as absorbing carbon from the air.

Jackfruit fair: Adopt jackfruit plantation in Akwa Ibom - WINCO Mrs Emem Umoh, addressing participants at the maiden jackfruit fair. (Credit: Abasifreke Effiong)

She said, “Apart from its delightful taste, jackfruit is rich in nutrients like vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, potassium, iron, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, magnesium and many other nutrients.

“In addition to containing vitamin C, jackfruit is also rich in phytonutrients, such as lignans, isoflavones and saponins, which are have anti-cancer and anti-aging properties. These phytonutrients may help eliminate cancer-causing free radicals from the body and slow the degeneration of cells that can lead to degenerative diseases.

“Jackfruit is also known to contain anti-ulcer properties which help cure ulcers and digestive disorders. In addition, the present of high fibre in the jackfruit prevents constipation and helps in smooth bowel movements. These fibers also offer protection against colon mucous membrane by removing the carcinogenic chemicals from the large intestine (colon).

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“Jackfruit contains vitamin A, a powerful nutrient which is known to maintain a healthy eye and skin. It also helps prevent vision-related problems such as macular degeneration and night blindness.

“The potassium contained in jackfruit has been found to be helpful in lowering blood pressure and thus reducing the risk of heart attack as well as stroke. It is considered as an energy boosting fruit due to the presence of simple sugars like fructose and sucrose. It contains no saturated fats or cholesterol.

“The root of jackfruit has been found useful in helping those who suffer from asthma. To treat this condition, you need to boil the jackfruit root and drink it. Alternatively, you may use the extract of jackfruit root orally to treat asthma.
The iron in jackfruit helps to prevent anemia and also helps in proper blood circulation in the body.

“Jackfruit is rich in magnesium, a nutrient which is important in the absorption of calcium and work with calcium to help strengthen the bone and prevent bone related disorders such as osteoporosis.”

The fair featured exhibition of jackfruit and 13 products produced from it, aimed to create awareness on the economic benefits, nutritional value of the fruits and its conservative benefit as carbon sequestration tree.

Some of the products in the value-chain exhibited at the fair were jackfruit seedling, fruits, nuts, chips, smoothie juice, Jackvita (swallow), flour and the jack supplement.

The opening ceremony of the fair received goodwill messages from the Ministries of Agriculture and Natural Resource, and Environment, FEYReP, the member representing Essien Udim State Constituency, Prince Ukpong Akpabio, and the Chairman, Akwa Ibom State Civil Society Forum, Mr Harry Udoh.

Jackfruit is known as Artocarpus heterophyllus Lam. It is cultivated in tropical and sub-tropical areas.