No one knows the jackfruit's place of origin, but it is believed to be indigenous to the rainforests of the Western Ghats. It is common in South-east Asia, and is occasionally found in 678 Pacific island home gardens. The plants of Artocarpus species have since been distributed throughout tropical and subtropical regions (Wei et al., 2005). It is often planted in central and eastern Africa, and is fairly popular in Brazil and Surinam.
The jackfruit has played a significant role in Indian agriculture for centuries. Archeological findings in India have revealed that it was cultivated in India 3000—6000 years ago. The plant is mainly known in the jackfruit-growing area as a source of food; poorer people in these areas used to eat its fruit for one of their daily meals instead of rice and other starchy foods. The seeds of the fruit in particular contain high levels of carbohydrate (~50%), protein (~20%), fat (~11%), and fiber (~7%) (Ajayi, 2008). People consume it mostly as a fruit when ripe, but also as a vegetable in its unripe stages. Jackfruit is a major part of the diet of the people of South-east Asia (where it is known as "poor man's" food), both as a vegetable and as a nutritious food during the season (Chowdhury et al., 1997).
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