Jackfruit is one of the underutilised fruits in Kenya which has potential to contribute to food and nutrition security. However, little is known about the status of jackfruit production in the country. This study assessed the status of jackfruit production in Busia County, Kenya. Data were collected through structured interviews with farmers (n=291), traders (n=6), key informant interviews (n=5) and field observations and analysed using descriptive statistics. There were two main varieties of jackfruit - yellow-fleshed and orange-fleshed. Yellow-fleshed jackfruit was grown by 78.0% of the farmers, the mean number of jackfruit trees in the farm being 5 (range: 1 to 30). Orange-fleshed jackfruit was grown by 38.5% of the farmers, the mean number of orange-fleshed jackfruit trees in the farm being 4 (range: 1 to 25). Despite being grown by fewer respondents, orange-fleshed jackfruit was the most preferred, because of sweetness, having less latex, quick maturing and perceived more nutritious. The estimated mean production of jackfruit fruits per year per household was 665±120 (range: 50 to 20,000 fruits). Jackfruit trees were mainly used as a source of food (42.5%), income (22.3%) and shade (18.9%). Other uses included manure (from the leaves), firewood / charcoal, livestock feed and timber. The trees were grown in pure stands (45.4%), along the hedge (29.5%), and intercropped with other crops (15.0%). Only 13.1% of farmers had access to information on jackfruit production. The main sources of information were fellow farmers (52.2%), indigenous knowledge (21.7%), traders (8.7%) and Ministry of Agriculture extension (7.2%). The main types of information were on seedling production and nursery management. Appropriate strategies are needed to enhance commercialisation of the fruit and its contribution to livelihoods of rural communities. Such strategies include awareness creation on the economic and nutritional importance of the fruit, developing a viable seed system, capacity building of farmers on good agricultural practices, and promotion of value added products.
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RUFORUM Working document series
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