A Guide to Jackfruit Cultivation
Scientific name: Artocarpus heterophyllus
The jackfruit (Artocarpus
heterophyllus) is a common village tree cultivated
throughout Malaysia. Fruits are available almost throughout the year
though the peaks are around June and December. They are a valuable
source of carbohydrates with a lesser amount of calcium and phosphate.
The pulp of the ripe fruit is eaten fresh or in syrup (preserved).
Preserved or canned jackfruit has become increasingly popular, but the
production is limited. Burkill described the juicy flesh around the
seed as "The taste is mawkishly sweet and mousy, agreeable to natives
of the East, but not to Europeans". The flavour is of ethyl butyrate.
The Malays and Chinese in Malacca candy the fruit. Unripe fruits are
used as a vegetable (masak lemak) or in soups and are also pickled. The
large seeds are boiled or roasted and have a chestnut flavour. The
seeds can also be ground into flour.
Jackfruit can be found in all states in Peninsular Malaysia. The total
area under jackfruits in 1976 was about 746.20 hectares. It is grown
together with other fruit trees. Until now, it has not been planted on
a large scale, apart from those grown for trials by the Department of
Agriculture in Trengganu. About 33% of the jackfruit in Malaysia is
found in Trengganu. Other important states producing jackfruit are
Kedah, Perak, Johor and Pahang. These five states constitute about 77%
of the area under jackfruit in Malaysia.
As the jackfruit has been traditionally propagated from seeds, there is
a wide variation in productivity and in fruit size, shape and quality,
as well as in the fruiting season. Two main types are recognised (1)
"Nangka Belulang" with firm flesh and (2) "Nangka Bubur" with soft
A few cultivars are known or exploited in Malaysia. A greater research
effort is needed to catalogue existing cultivars and to build up stocks
of desirable clonal material.
The jackfruit variety under observation is the cultivar Negeri Sembilan
Satu. NS 1 is the cultivar selected for processing and it is hoped that
with further husbandry improvements, the acreage of jackfruit in
Malaysia will expand to meet the development of the fruit processing
Soil and Climate
Although the jackfruit is essentially a tree of the tropical lowlands,
it is adapted to a wider range of conditions. It can tolerate higher
altitudes and cold better than the breadfruit.
The jackfruit can be grown on a variety of soils as long as they are
well-drained, but does best in deep alluvial soils of open texture.
Most of the trees grown in Trengganu and Pahang are on the Holyrood
The most common and simplest method of raising jackfruit trees is from
seeds, though other methods are also known in Malaysia. The trees do
not generally breed true from seeds, so the practice has led to immense
variation in yields, fruit characters and quality. Inarching and
grafting by the Forkert Method is known in Malaysia as a means of
perpetuating desirable clonal stocks.
The place chosen for the planting should be first cleared from old tree
stumps and old roots to avoid termites and root disease. When
necessary, the soil should be ploughed first, then rows are made to
mark the planting intervals. Usually, jackfruits are planted at a
distance of 30 ft. x 30 ft. In an acre, 48 trees can be planted. In a
new area the planting interval can be reduced to 25 ft. x 25 ft., and
69 trees can be planted in an acre.
Planting holes of 2 ft x 2 ft x 2 ft., should be prepared, and top soil
with 4 oz. CIRP should be added into each hole. For not every fertile
soils, it is advisable to add 40 lbs. of cowdung to the top soil.
Usually the planting holes are left open for fourteen (14) days before
they are filled up again, and only then is the budgrafted jackfruit
tree planted. It is important to remember that during planting, the bud
patch is not to be covered with soil. It would otherwise cause the bud
patch to rot and die. The amount of sunlight can be reduced by using
shade from coconut fronds. Usually, bud-grafted trees are planted
during the rainy season so that they do not have to be watered. Since
watering is quite a problem in large scale cultivation, planting should
be done when there is rain in order to make sure that tne plants can
grow well. This is important to prevent the plants from being stunted.
Shading from the coconut fronds can be removed after two weeks if the
weather is fine. Otherwise, it should be left for another week or more.
For sandy soil and clay soil or the Holyrood series, legumes are
required as cover crops. Calopogonium, Centrosema and Pueraria in a
ratio of 5:4:1 are usually used. Cover crops are required to prevent
weeds from growing, to alter the condition and fertility of the soil
and also to prevent the soil from becoming too hot especially in bris
Fertilizer and Manuring
A consistent, well-balanced manurial programme is important so as to
stimulate rapid growth in young trees and to ensure maximum yield when
the plants come into bearing. As nitrogen, phosphate and potash play a
vital role in the plant metabolism, and markedly affect fruit
production, a balanced supply of these nutrients in the fertilizer
mixture must be applied to the plant.
The amount and time of fertilizer application are as shown below:
G = Growth mixture
|Amount per tree/
||every 3 months
||every 3 months
||every 4 months
||every 4 months
||every 6 months
||every 6 months
|7th year onwards
||every 6 months
F = Flowering mixture
Pests and Diseases
Jackfruit is seldom attacked by serious fungal or virus diseases. The
common diseases which occur are physiological, where the trees wilt and
the shoots die. This is usually caused by shortage of water, flooded or
waterlogged conditions. Another disease which can reduce the production
of jackfruit is caused by fungal attack during the development of the
fruits. This disease can be controlled by wrapping the fruits before
they are attacked by fruit borers, by removing and burning the rotten
flowers and fruits and also by spraying with fungicide such as Perenox,
Vitigran blue twice a week during the early fruiting season.
Natural fruit drop has also been observed. Many fruit buds which are
still small drop even though they are not attacked by insects or
fungus. It is believed that this is due to some physiological reasons
such as lack of nutrients.
A few diseases caused by insects and pests such as jackfruit borer,
fruit flies, civet cat and wild boar have been reported.
sp. is a type of Lepidopteran which can destroy every part of a
jackfruit tree. They usually lay eggs on leaves and fruits. The larvae
eat the leaves at the beginning and later bore into fruits and develop.
After destroying part of the fruit they begin to bore into the branches
The method of controlling Margaronia
larvae is to spray insecticides such as carbaryl and gamma BHC at least
once a fortnight at a concentration of 0.1% of the active ingredient.
For the plants which have already been attacked, it is necessary to
collect and destroy the rotten fruits; the dead branches or stems have
to be cut. The holes in the fresh part should be filled with
paradichloro-benzene or other insecticides such as gamma BHC.
Two types of fruit flies, Dacus
umbrosus and Dacus
dorsata can affect the jackfruit production. Fruit flies
breed in the matured fruit; the adult female lays eggs at the inner
part of the skin and the larvae eat and thrive inside the fruit which
later becomes rotten.
The method of controlling fruit flies is by destroying the rotten
fruits, either by burning or burying them in the soil. Covering fruits
using coconut leaf bags, gunny sacks or papers is good and effective.
A new method of controlling fruit flies is to use poisoned attractants
such as methyl eugenol and protein hydrolysate mixed with trichlorphon
(Dipterex) but the method does not give satisfactory control.
Jackfruit fruits are loved by wild animals such as the civet cat.
Another pest which can cause destruction and loss is the wild boar. All
immature and mature fruits at the lower part of the trees will be
destroyed by these pests. Besides that, they like to dig the roots to
find insects and this may cause the trees to fall.
A method of controlling them is by elimination by shooting or by using
poisonous bait such as 'methomyl' (Lannate) inside pineapple or sweet
Yield, Production and Processing
There is no reliable yield data on jackfruit found in Peninsular
Malaysia. Data gathered by the Department of Agriculture in Trengganu
showed that a jackfruit tree variety NS 1 produced 10-20
fruits/tree/season. If 15 fruit/ tree/season is an average yield per
season, the yield per tree per year is therefore 30 fruits. However,
data recorded in MARDI was 16 fruits/tree/year during 1978 for trees
grown in Serdang for the same variety i.e. NS 1 (Musa Baba, Pers.
Comn.). If 50 plants are planted in an acre, 800 fruits per acre per
year will be produced. The average fruit weight recorded was 5.72 kg
(12.58 lbs.). If the market price of a fruit is 10 cents per pound,
then the average price of a fruit is $1.25 cents and the total
production per acre per year is about $1000.
At present, the jackfruit variety NS 1 is found to be suitable for
preservation and canning. Using this method, the flesh can be stored
long without any loss in quality. Thus, there is no problem in
marketing and it can be one of the fruits which has a great potential
for the canning industry.
Processing of jackfruit has been carried out by the Food Technology
Division of Serdang since 1969 and it is being continued by the
Agricultural Product Utilization Division MARDI at Kuala Trengganu. The
flesh is mixed with a syrup mixture, citric acid and calcium chloride
Only about 13% of the fruit can be canned. A fruit weighing 7 lb. can
produce 3 - 4 tins weighing 15 oz/tin. At present, the processing cost
for one tin of jackfruit is $1.00, with the cost of $0.25 for 10-11
pitted pulps weighing 200 gm.
Canned jackfruit is popular in Malaysia but its production is limited.
However, it can be a potential industry in future.
ALLEN, B.M. 1975 Common Malaysian Fruits. Longman Malaysia Sdn. Bhd.
BURKHILL, I.H. 1966. A Dictionary of the Economic Product of Malay
Peninsular. Vol. I, pp. 255-258. Ministry of Agriculture and
Co-operatives, Kuala Lumpur.
GARNER, R.J. and Saeed Ahmed Chaudhri. 1976. The propagation of
tropical fruit trees. Commonwealth Agricultural Beraux. Horticultural
LEE, C.S. (9n.d.). A guide to fruit tree establishment, Risalah
Terbitan Cawangan Perkembangan. Jabatan Pertanian, Kuala Lumpur.
OSMAN MOHD NOOR. 1978. Tanaman Nangka, Risalah Perkembangan Bil. 12.
Jabatan Pertanian, Kuala Lumpur.
PURSEGLOVE J.W. 1977. Tropical Crops (Dicotyledons) Longman Group Ltd.