Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Handling Technology Of Minimally Processed Jackfruit For Export Markets

Handling Technology Of Minimally Processed Jackfruit FOR Export Markets


Jackfruit is one of the tropical fruits suitable for minimal processing. A single fruit may weigh more than 10 kg. Thus it is not convenient for the consumer to carry the whole fruit back home, or it may be too much to consume at once, particularly for smaller families. It is an aggregate fruit with numerous fruitlets, each containing one seed. The fruitlet is covered with epidermal cells and cuticle layer with a waxy appearance. The process of separating the fruitlets from the center core is quite unpleasant since the fruit is full of gummy latex that sticks to the hands and knives. The difficulty in assessing the flesh often results in an unsightly product.

At present, marketing activity of minimally processed jackfruit is mainly being conducted on daily basis. Polyethylene bag has been commonly used for packing minimally processed jackfruit at the wet market and the stalls by the roadside. However, at the dry market the minimally processed jackfruit was packed on polystyrene tray overlapped with stretched film. The fruit turns slimy and deteriorates rapidly, resulting in off-flavour. Shelf life at the supermarket shelf is only 3-4 days. Today, MARDI has developed a technology for minimally processed jackfruit, which has a potential not only for the local markets but also for export.

Technology Description

Package technology developed for minimally processed jackfruit involves various steps:-
>>Fruit harvested at commercial maturity
>>Handling operation involves:
>Fruit ripening
>Fruit cutting – isolating the fruitlets
>Suitable retail and bulk packing

Novelty of Technology

>>The latex problem and difficulties in separating the fruitlets from the epidermal cells can be overcome by the precooling process.
>>Firmer fruitlet as cutting process is conducted only to fruits achieving 60% skin softening.
>>The technology employed the use of modified atmosphere packaging (MAP) and low temperature storage to reduce weight loss and tissue browning even after 3 weeks.
>>The use of rigid polypropylene containers for retail packing and insulated boxes for bulk packing reduces physical injury, makes handling easier and stacking possible.
>>The use of frozen gel provides a cool environment to the packed jackfruit which slows down ripening and other metabolic processes, reduces deterioration and minimizes the ethylene effect which influence shelf life.
>>The technology can be easily adopted for local or export markets
The longer storage life enables more efficient and wider market distribution.
>>A quality assurance protocol has been developed for minimally processed jackfruit under ASEAN Australian Economic Cooperation Program to ensure safe products being delivered to the consumer.

Jackfruit in Minimally Processed Form Offer Many Advantages

>>Ease in serving portion of large and difficult to peel fruits;
>>Reduce cost in packaging and transportation;
>>Extend the shelf life;
>>Minimize the quarantine barrier;
>>The quality of the products can be seen thus provide good selection for the consumer;
>>Attractive labels can be used for product description, storage requirements and expected storage life.

Comparison to Current Products

The technology on minimally processed jackfruit offers many advantages:
>>Longer storage life. Minimally processed jackfruit can be kept for 3 weeks at 20C, 1 week at 10C and 2 days at 25C. The achievable storage life provides sufficient marketing planning for distribution both for local and export markets;
>>Ensure of safety and quality as handling operations were conducted in controlled environment following quality assurance protocols:
>>Reduction in cost of packaging and transportation;
>>Flexible production depending on market demand;

Economic Impact

>>Per-capita consumption of jackfruit fruit is expected to increase from 0.8 kg/person /yr in 2000 to 1.0 kg in 2010;
>>Production area of jackfruit is expected to increase from 6,000 hectares in 2000 to 55,000 hectares in 2010;
>>Thus it will be a good future for minimally processed jackfruit to cater the needs of the local and export markets:
>>Currently, jackfruit (whole fruit) has been exported to Singapore, Hong Kong, Netherlands, Indonesia, Middle East, United Kingdom and Thailand with the export value worth RM3 million in 2004 and targeted to increase to RM10 million 2010;
>>The demand for jackfruit in minimally processed is expected to increase as cost of transportation can be reduced with the removal of the inedible portion of the fruits (skin, epidermal layers, seeds and the center core). These inedible portion constitutes about 40-50% of the fruit weight.

Potential Users

>>The technology is targeted towards local fruit suppliers as well as exporters;
>>The technology has a potential for export not only by air but also by sea shipments to markets such as Hong Kong, China and Taiwan as traveling time is only between 5-7 days;

Export Trial

>>An Export trial of minimally processed jackfruit by air shipment to Netherlands was successfully conducted in June 2006. The trial was conducted in collaboration with counterparts in Malaysia (FAMA, DOA, fruit exporter from Selangor) and from Netherlands (fruit importer, Agriculture Atache, Matrade and Malaysian Embassy).

>>The technology of minimally processed jackfruit fruit had been successfully taken up for export by air shipment to the European markets (Netherlands, Belgium, Zurich) and also to Middle East.

For further information please contact:
Latifah Mohd Nor
Horticulture Research Centre
MARDI Headquarters, Serdang
P.O Box 12301, 50774 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-8943 7545
Fax: 03-8948 7590

Or write to:
Horticulture Research Centre
MARDI Headquarters, Serdang
P.O Box 12301, 50774 Kuala Lumpur

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Malaysia: Agriculture the Main Thrust

Malaysia: Agriculture the Main Thrust

The East Coast Economic Region is set to be an agropolitan hub focusing on developing crop, fish and livestock clusters

Agriculture will be the main thrust of the East Coast Economic Region (ECER), generating revenue of RM8.57 billion in the three east coast states by 2020, Petronas president and chief executive officer Tan Sri Hassan Merican.

Two years ago, revenue from agriculture was about RM3.7 billion.

To help Pahang, Kelantan and Terengganu achieve this, the ECER - the latest of the country's three economic corridors introduced in the past few months - is creating an "agropolitan", literally an A-Z of an agricultural hub.

Hassan said Kelantan had been identified for the cultivation of poultry and herbs, Terengganu for goat rearing and citrus valley and Pahang, for cattle farming and pineapples.

'Our experts have identified two types of crops - citrus fruits and pineapples - as the most suitable to be cultivated in the region," he said in a statement.

In 2005, agriculture accounted for about 16 percent of the region's gross domestic product and provided 22.9 percent of the regional labour force. ECER, which also covers Mersing in Johor, makes up 51 percent of the total land areas in Peninsular Malaysia.

Agropolitan is an all-encompassing approach from providing quality seeds to good agriculture practices and business mentoring, and it will help many get a leg up. As a whole, the creation of agropolitan hubs will enhance industry practices, increase yield and supplement income stream.

This is being done by expanding large-scale commercial farming, the use of modern technology, developing value-added activities and improving supply chain management, Hassan said.

Central of the approach is the establishment of Collection, Processing and Packaging Centres (CPPCs) and Collection and Marketing Centres (CMCs). They are the nerve centre for sorting, grading and tagging of fruits and vegetables, packaging, processing, palletising, cold chain services, retails and export management and distribution.

The CPPC and CMC will also serve as a one-stop centre for services certification and accreditation. They will be connected to supermarkets and exporters for efficiency, production planning, inventory control as well as trading and negotiations.

A total of 18 CPPCs and CMCs will be built, including eight specifically to cater for fruits and vegetables. The remaining 10 will focus on kenaf (two), herbal (three), fish (two) and livestock (three).

Petronas has also proposed a number of agriculture parks. They include permanent, separate parks for agriculture food, poultry production, beef/mutton production and Aquaculture Industry Zone (AIZ).

In Pahang, some 7,400ha in Pekan and Rompin has been earmarked for pineapple parks as well 5,000ha in Ulu Tembeling and 3,500ha in Lanchang for permanent fruit parks. Terengganu gets 1,000ha in Lojing for floriculture and vegetable plantation and another 1,414ha in Dungun for a citrus fruits valley. There will be two AIZs in Terengganu (Kenyir) and Kelantan (Pergau).

Part of the agropolitan approach is to focus on developing crop, fish and livestock clusters. The strategies also require participation of private sector and government agencies like Felda as anchor companies, and the strengthening of marketing and global networking.

Strategic initiatives to develop the crop clusters will include establishing nucleus-contract farming models involving farmers and anchor companies, as well as agriculture parks including permanent food production parks, and group farming projects.

Kuala Berang in Terengganu has been picked as a production base of breeder animal stocks for goats, while Muadzam Shah in Pahang, for cattle to be distributed to commercial farmers for breeding and fattening.

SMEs (small and medium enterprises), meanwhile, will be roped in for poultry farming in at least four poultry parks in Gua Musang (Kelantan), Chendering (Terengganu), Gebeng and Gambang in Pahang.

Strategies for the fisheries clusters will include production of fish for commercial fish farming, development of downstream activities relating to fish processing and value-added products and improving output and economic standing of micro-SMEs currently involved in fish processing.

Overall, the focus on agropolitan will create jobs for more than 42,000 local populace throughout the value chain, besides entrepreneur opportunities for local companies and SMEs, Hassan said

Source: BizNews, The New Straits Times, Saturday, October 6, 2007