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How a Chinese fruit is changing fortunes of a Kerala farmer

Jojo Punnakkal at his Gac fruit farm. Image Credit: Special Arrangement

This farmer of Angamaly in Kerala is cultivating a totally new variety of fruit called Gac and is scripting success. Jojo Punnakkal, 49, of Amalapuram near Angamaly came across Gac at an exhibition in 2018. Though he didn’t know much about the fruit, he decided to grow it in the backyard of the house.

As the plant grew and started bearing beautiful looking fruits, people from nearby places started visiting his house to catch a glimpse of it. Jojo conducted research on the internet and found that Gac, which grows in China and Vietnam, is a rich source of various vitamins and minerals. Soon, word spread about Gac cultivation at Jojo’s house.

“It’s an easy to grow plant. I have been getting orders from supermarkets and large fruit stalls for the fruit. In fact, I cannot meet the demand for the fruit,” Jojo told “Open Digest”.

Jojo has also started to make juice and other value-added products from the fruit to reach out more in the market. “I am getting a lot of enquiries for the saplings of the plant. I have now started to sell the saplings. A 500 sqft area is required to grow a male and a female plant. It takes six months for the plants to grow and bear fruits which are lovely and beautiful,” he said. A lot of pharma companies are making vitamin and health supplement capsules from Gac fruit as it contains Vitamin A, E, C, Magnesium and Zinc.

“It’s a rich source of lycopene, an antioxidant. I have entered into a deal with a company to grow more Gac plants and supply them with the fruits. They will be supplying 125 saplings soon as part of the deal,” he said.

Jojo will be soon expanding his Gac farming mainly focusing on value-added products and saplings. “The climate in Kerala is suitable for Gac. The plants bear around 70 to 80 fruits in a season,” he added.

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