For almost 50 years now, several generations of notable plant expert researchers from the Department of Agriculture- Regional Field Office 8 (DA-RFO8) and the research station at Brgy. Balinsasayao, Abuyog, Leyte have studied the propagation, adaptation, and improvement of the commonly grown tropical fruit trees in the region. Through fruit sample collection, characterization, evaluation, and utilization of fruit trees in Eastern Visayas, DA-RFO8 discovered a world-class fruit that could sweep the modern markets: jackfruit.

Pioneering efforts have resulted in the development of the Eastern Visayas Integrated Agricultural Research Center (EVIARC) sweet produce. One of which is the NSIC-registered EVIARC Sweet, the sweetest variety of jackfruit not only here in the country, but throughout the whole world. 

The highly in-demand jackfruit variety has become a popular favorite among plant hobbyists and food lovers. To cover the demand, the research station has conducted various extension activities, such as the hands-on and actual demonstration in farming communities, field visits, and seminars on how to improve product packaging and orientation on the production of information materials. 

Partner institutions, such as the Visayas State University (VSU) at Baybay City, have sold vacuum fried and dehydrated jackfruit in vacuum-sealed packaging at the Romualdez Airport, VSU and Baybay City as pasalubong items. 

In the latest meeting of the Regional Convergence Initiative Technical Working Group (RCI TWG) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) with other government agencies, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) has committed to improving the quality of production and processing of jackfruit candy through innovative in-house technology.

The project has also been gaining traction from balikbayans and local entrepreneurs. The RCI TWG has been working closely with private individuals on the possible expansion of the jackfruit market to reach global standards.

“The Department will continuously support the Abuyog’s jackfruit industry by supporting local farmers and entrepreneurs. We will make sure that the R&D will not end in Abuyog but will spread to nearby municipalities such as Javier, Mahaplag, and Baybay City in Leyte and Sogod in Southern Leyte,” DA-RFO8 8 Assistant Regional Director Dr. Elvira Torres said.

“Promotion is no longer a question; rather, it now becomes a question of being able to sustain the production of this fresh or frozen fruit and its quality, on the time when many will now visit Abuyog, Leyte. We cannot afford to disappoint them,” Dr. Torres added.