One of the largest mango producers in Australia is trying out a new crop; jackfruit. This fruit, originating in South-East Asia, is one of the largest fruits in the world, with some ripe specimens weighing up to 40 kilograms.
Manbulloo Limited grows mangoes across seven farms in the Northern Territory and Queensland and has just planted about 100 jackfruits on one of its properties near Katherine. Managing director Marie Piccone said the company wanted to test out the growing and market viability of a new crop.
"We'll be measuring a whole lot of attributes, including time from planting to the first crop, annual yield, consumer acceptance and post-harvest shelf life," she said. "We will use that criteria to have a look at whether we could tick it off as feasible and then have a look at the economics."
Jackfruit can be eaten at two stages in its growth; the younger fruit can be cooked, while the more mature fruit can be eaten fresh. The younger jackfruit is growing in popularity as a meat alternative for vegetarian and vegan consumers.
Ms Piccone said Manbulloo would consider the potential for both markets for jackfruit. "We don't really know [what the market demand is], but we do believe that there's probably potential for both the products," she said. "Both are used extensively in Asia and other tropical regions. This is a really, really early-stage crop in Australia."