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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

SUKUN

Sukun fruit ready for early harvest at Muar, Johor.


Sukun (Artocarpus altilis) is a type of tree originated from South East Asia Tenggara under Moraceae Family are similar to Jackfruit and Cempedak group. Sukun was planted in Malaysia as a mixed crop with other fruit tree and also as monocrop. No data recorded the hectare's in Malaysia but the writer estimated about 300 -450 Hectare CHE. Johor, Selangor, Kedah , Kelantan, Sabah and Pahang are states that mostly growing sukun in Malaysia. This crop use as landscape and for food production. There is no specified verities of sukun planted but mostly are Locals.

Sukun tree are woody type and able to reach up to 20 meter height. The main trunk upward stand with about 30-50 cm diameter. The trunk colour is grey and considered as medium hardwood type. The leaves shape was unique with green in colour and thick. The branching system also evenly distributed to create a fair canopy. The sukun flower was at the tip of the branching system in reddish brown colour and elongated in shape. Sukun Fruit was green at young stage with round or oval shape. It turns light green yellowish when turn ripe and smoother skin. Fruit size about 10-30 cm diameter and weighed about 1-3 kg per fruit. In Malaysia there is two type of Sukun that was Sukun with Seed (Wild sukun) and Sukun without seed (Commercially grown). I have experience in providing extension activity for sukun farm project in Melaka and Johor in 1992-1995.

Sukun was planted from its sucker (From roots) from selected matured sukun tree. The other method of reproduction for sukun is by Marcotting and Cuttings. The seedling with leaves and stable root placed in planting hole about 30 cm x 30 cm x 20 cm prepared earlier with basic organic fertilizer and MPP/TSP. Recommended planting distance for sukun was 8 meter x 10 meter. Sukun needs 1005 sunlight penetration for growing period and fruiting capabilities. It was a fast growing tree and able to reach 3 meter height within a year in the farm.

Manuring program for sukun by application of NPK 15:15:15 about 1 kg per tree/year and organic fertilizer for the first year. It increases to 1-2 kg with NPK 12:12:17:2 TE for the second year and 3-4 kg/tree for the next few years. From my observation of sukun on peat soil and mineral soil in Melaka it was able to bear fruit after 1-2 years of planting. The most serious problem in growing sukun was the Stem Borer attack at all stage of planting. During vegetative stage the moth lay egg at the shoot later the larvae penetrated to the stems. If not properly control the sukun tree die within few months. Use chemical control with systemic insecticide such as Furadan 3G during vegetative stage. Other pests was Fruit Fly (Bactocera spp) that able to attack premature sukun fruit and control with protein bait. Weed control by manual and chemical . Drainage is very important at sukun farm.


Sukun in Malaysia has two peak season even though it produce fruit non stop. From my observation the flowering season was normally in Febuary/Mac and July /August in Peninsular Malaysia. The peak fruiting season was in April/Jun and October/ November. The rainfall and drought affect flower formation, fruit size, fruit numbers and fruit quality. Few commercial farmers provide drip irrigation system in the farms and the results shown the farms able to produce double yield from non-irrigated farm in Melaka.


Sukun fruit was light green at young stage turn to dark green when reach maturity stage. Do not pluck or harvest young sukun fruit because its produce latex and unfavourable taste when eaten. Matured fruit will fall if not harvested and provide a host to unwanted pests. Harvested sukun properly cleaned and grade according to size. From my study in Melaka and Muar the ex-farm price for local sukun range between RM 1.00 - RM 1.50 per fruit and sold at RM 2.00 - 3.00 per fruit to the consumer at night market.


Sukun was eaten as "FRIED SUKUN" with 'Sambal Kicap' or hot soy sauce. The sukun was cut as slices about 1 cm thick and fried in hot vegetable oil whether coated with special spicy flour ingredient or not. There was a special demand fo fried sukun sold at the roadside stall or night market. The sukun was cut in long shape with about 0.5 cm thick and sold at RM 0.50 - RM 0.80 per piece. My observation calculated one sukun fruit able to cut between 25-30 sukun cut. Sukun was the best for sukun chip or locally known as "Kerepek Sukun" (See photo next). This chip has a high demand during Perayaan Hari Raya Puasa. The sukun chip priced about RM 10.00 - RM 15.00 per kilogram compared to tapioca chip only about RM 8.00 - RM 12.00 per kilogram. I am one of the consumer to buy and eat sukun chips!

Grow sukun.....harvest sukun....
Fried Sukun....taste favourable...
Sukun chip...not so cheap....
Know about sukun....like to get...


By
M Anem
Horticulture Unit

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