Ballongilly has commenced jackfruit growing trials in a bid to add another fruit to the Northern Territory's bowl,
With the tropical fruit's popularity on the rise, staff at Ballongilly - a Manbulloo farm near Katherine - have planted five varieties of jackfruit as part of the Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia (CRCNA) project.
Managing director of Manbulloo LTD, Marie Piccone said given commercial jackfruit is relatively uncharted territory in the Top End, all facets of growing the fruit commercially was a learning process for all involved.
"We planted five varieties in Ballongilly because there has never been any commercial plantings in this regional area and we want to observe over a number of years the quality of fruit and volumes, and whether the region is suitable for growing jackfruit commercially," Ms Piccone said.
"We don't know very much yet about how to grow them in this region. This trial is to make those assessments...there's a lot to learn.
"We think there may be potential for Australian-grown jackfruit and increasing demand based on the numbers of those who enjoy eating it now and there's also those who use jackfruit as a meat alternative."
Freight rates, climate, marketability and demand are some of the factors to be looked at during the Ballongilly trials.
Once some are ripe for the picking, Ms Piccone said they will also conduct market testing to determine "where the opportunities are, if any, in this region".
"We think that by the end of four or five years we'll have a clear view of which varieties are suitable and which aren't," she said.
"Of those different varieties, what are consumer preferences? Some are yellow and some are orange, they all have different flavour profiles and sizes.
"Unless we look at a range of selections and varieties, we won't really be able to discern what is the best option(s).
"It's very important when you are considering a new crop like jackfruit to understand there's risks. What worries me often in horticulture is that people plant stuff and potentially invest a lot of money with too high of a risk.
"It's so important that you know you're going to grow a quality product in an area that's economically viable and don't go crazy."
NT Farmers are providing in-kind support for communications and extension activities to promote the project and its findings.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:
- Bookmark katherinetimes.com.au
- Make sure you are signed up for our breaking and regular headlines newsletters
- Follow us on Twitter: @KatherineTimes
- Follow us on Instagram @katherinetimes
- Follow us on Google News
- You can also receive updates straight to your inbox each Friday at 6am from the Katherine Times. To make sure you're up to date with all the news, sign up here.