By Alexander Villafania
DAVAO CITY, DAVAO DEL SUR – Fruits abound in Davao City, the most popular being the odious but tasteful durian. But one fruit that also deserves recognition is the marang (Artocarpus odoratissimus), a similar looking fruit that has a thick rind or skin.
As indicated in its scientific name, the marang exudes a strong, but fragrant sugary smell but is lighter than that of the durian.
Marang is a rather tasty fruit. When still young, the rind remains green, changing color to greenish yellow as it ripens. The thick rind protects the core, which is a collection of flesh-covered seeds.
One would only need to take a piece from the core and remove the flesh. The seed can also be consumed when it is boiled or roasted.
It is also one of the most nutritious fruits found in the Philippines. It is high in protein, carbohydrates, fiber, calcium, phosphorous, iron, retinol, beta-carotene, vitamin A and C, thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin.
Many residents in Davao and surrounding provinces consider the marang as a good dessert as it does not leave too much smell when opened and consumed. The small fleshy seeds are also easier to pick off from the fruit compared to the durian, which needs to be cut into pieces first.
The marang is widely distributed and sold in Davao City as surrounding agricultural municipalities grow these all year round. While it is known to be grown also in certain parts of Palawan, it is more prominently found in the southern part of the Philippines, particularly in the Davao region.
The fruit tree is hardy and continuously produce fruits all year round, making the marang one of the most sustainable agricultural products in the region.
Davao’s marang is a favorite pasalubong for tourists. It is also one of the cheapest and is sold at P50 a kilo (lower if you buy in bulk). Most visitors would bring boxes of marang weighing several kilos with them.
Because of its odor, the marang also shares almost the same reputation as the durian. During air transport, airports and airlines require passengers to check in their purchased marang.
The Philippines’ Department of Agriculture (DA) has been making progress in developing new products from freshly picked marang and enticing entrepreneurs to venture into distributing and selling these new products.
The agency has even commissioned a study called “Improved Post-harvest Technologies and Techno-Transfer for Marang” by the University of Southern Mindanao to find commercial viability of marang-based products.
These products include jams, paste, concentrates to make juices, flour, and marmalade. These products could make it to international markets and may even contribute to the region’s economy.
As such, the marang isn’t just an ordinary fruit, it’s also one that can make things sweeter for Davao’s growing agricultural industry.
Filquest Media Concepts, Inc. , the parent company of loQal.ph, is a multimedia publisher and provider of web, print, mobile and video content. We do this for our own media properties, but we also extend that service as an outsourced provider for news organizations, web, print, mobile and broadcasting companies.