I am not familiar with marang, in fact its my first time to hear about it. But i glad with this kind of job – I am exposed to many people who are open to share their knowledge.
After reading a lot of references or literature about marang – i can somehow say now, yes i know Marang.
Marang (Artocarpus odoratissima) is one of the indigenous fruits found in the Philippines. It is similar to jackfruit and breadfruit, but smaller and softer compared to the Jackfruit and a little bigger than the breadfruit. Marang is grown in the marginal and hilly areas of Minadanao and seldom found in Luzon and in Visayas.
This fruit is esteemed because of its palatable taste, pleasant odor (especially when ripe) and nutritional value. It contains protein, fat, carbohydrates, crude fiber, ash, calcium, phosphorus, iron, retinol, beta-carotene, vitamin A, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, and ascorbic acid. Aside from being fruit dessert (eaten as raw), it is also considered as one of the best flavoring material for dessert in Mindanao. Thus, marang is believed to have market potential not only in Mindanao but in the whole country and even abroad.
However, regardless of the qualities that Marang possesses, the industry is still considered young because products both processed and non-process are only found in some areas in Mindanao, not even reach the major supermarkets in the country due to storability problems.
“Short shelf life of Marang is the major limiting factor that impedes the industry to grow”, said Dr. Emma K. Sales, of University of Southern Mindanao (USM) in Kabacan, Cotabato. “This inspires me to conduct a research to increase the shelf life of Marang”, she added during the interview.
The study is entitled “Improved Postharvest Technologies in Marang” aim to develop postharvest technologies that could prolong the storability of the fruit through improved harvesting and handling techniques, which according to Dr. Sales, poor harvesting methods, poor handling during transport and poor conditions during storage may lead to poor product quality.
According to the surveys, farmers usually predict when to harvest Marang based to its appearance, “though it is considerable, the study sets a standard for maturity indices that may help farmers to accurately determine when is the best time to harvest the fruit”, said Dr. Sales.
The result of the study shows that Marang is best harvested on 80-90 days from fruit on-set. On the other hand, appropriate harvesting tools combined with careful and proper technique in harvesting and hauling lessen damages on fruit. While, storability and shelf life can be prolong through the use of appropriate packaging materials, and proper storage temperature.
Techniques such as washing, covering the fruit with wet sacks or cloths and other ripening substance will hasten ripening, while polyethylene bag as packaging material, ethylene scrubber and cold storage delays ripening.
For minimally processed Marang, the use of either polyethelene bags (zip lock) or Styrofoam added with antioxidant such as metabisulfite will delay browning. Cold storage of about 0oC and 4oC also preserve acceptable appearance of Marang pulps.
The study also conducts experiment on processing Marang into value added products. Among the products developed were: Marang ice cream, Marang jam, Marang syrup, vacuum fried Marang, dehydrated Marang, spray dried Marang, Marang puree, Marang concerve and Marang concentrates. Powdered Marang were also produced.
Dr. Sales concluded that the result of the study is helpful to Marang farmers, processors and other industry enthusiasts to improve the current practices and strategies in the field and in the processing level to enhance the marketability of Marang and Marang products. This will also complement the government’s strategies to address poverty in the poor areas of Mindanao by providing sustainable livelihood among farmers and an alternative source of income among housewives.
On the other hand, the result of the study will also serve as reference to further improve the harvesting and post harvest handling technologies as well as the storage practices beneficial to produce good quality Marang in the future. “With continuous research and development as well as promotion of this indigenous fruit, the industry will surely grow”, said Dr. Sales.
This study is funded by the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR).(Edmon B. Agron)