From selling jack fruit to treating people with the same

Musiime Francis displaying some of his produce

By Alex Taremwa

It was a misconception within the society he grew up that whoever planted a jack fruit tree would instantly die. However, this myth was proved otherwise in 1984 while on a trip to Soroti when along the Masaka-Kampala road, Musiime Francis saw as many jack fruit trees than he could have possibly imagined.

“I said to myself: if everyone who planted these was dead, then the country should be utmost scarcely occupied,” he narrated. And when I returned from Soroti, I planted as many jack fruits on my father’s land as I could that later went on to be my first source of income.

Background:

Musiime Kyereta Francis was born on the 11th of October way back in 1963 in Nyarubungo currently Bukiiro in Kashari, Mbarara district. Due to the pastoral nature of his family, they shifted from Kashari to Rwemamba, Kitura in Kiruhura district because their previous home had been infringed on mostly by cultivators making the pastures insufficient to sustain animal life.

While in primary school, Francis would vend his fruits across markets so he could generate and support his family with a little income. He expanded his jack fruit garden slowly but steadily to the extent that from it he was able to generate a portion of his school fees throughout secondary school, at the teachers’ college and later at LDC.

“Growing up I always wanted to be a lawyer and that explains why I went to LDC and even now if it wasn’t for less finances, I would have liked all my children to study laws. My first son is already a graduate in LLB,” he said.

From this garden, Francis has seen two of his Sons complete studies at university one graduating in Laws and the other in Education respectively. As if that is not enough, he is also paying for his wife’s tuition who also is a semester away from graduation.

Notable is that in 1994, Francis was able from his jack fruit to get dowry required of him to get married to a wife with whom he has 8 children 5 of which are males and 3 females.

Education:

Francis attended Kitura Primary School before joining Ibanda Secondary School for both his O&A levels. He later joined Ibanda Teachers College from where he connected to the Law Development College (LDC) at Makerere for a certificate in laws.

Breakthrough:

It all started in his earlier stages of life when Francis suffered from a digestive problem that brought him a constipation of sorts.

After eating some jack fruit,” I felt an ease in my stomach and I was able to discharge human wastes normally.”

After his magical healing, Francis set out to research more on the jack fruit and its benefits beyond just sales and income generation.

With references to several articles in over the internet, he discovered that there was more in jack fruit than what he had possibly thought both in the fresh and the seeds which mostly ignored as useless and Francis went an extra mile to buy jack fruit from other suppliers with an aim to get the seeds that he referred to as the magical element about the entire plant though the rest of the parts including the stem and the roots play different important purposes if utilized.

Since 2012, he has been producing the jack-fruit seed flour on a small scale and apparently, he has set up a sales point in Mbarara where he currently lives and operates.

Musiime Francis and his family at his current workshop in Mbarara (Photo by Alex Taremwa)

Musiime Francis and his family at his current workshop in Mbarara (Photo by Alex Taremwa)

How he makes the product:

Still using the rudimentally approach, Francis explains the step by step methods through which he attains the flour that he sells to the public starting after he gathers the seeds.

  • Wash the seeds
  • Dry them either by sun or fire until they peel of the first layer. What you have left is a reddish seed.
  • Pound the seed to release the sticky starchy substance (known in Luganda as amasanda) and then spread the pounded substance on either a mat or another flat surface to dry again. At this point, you may repeat the pounding to make the substance finer and easy to dry.
  • Then lastly, take the dry substance the grinding machine and get flour.

Benefits of the flour on one’s health:

According to a health website in India where the fruit is widely grown and consumed, jack fruit seeds have a chunk of benefits it can bring to your health.

  • Fights wrinkles: Take a seed of jack fruit and keep it dipped in cold milk for a while. Grind it well and apply softly on your wrinkles. It is believed to work on wrinkles in just about four-five weeks’ time. Apply regularly for best results.
  • Helps get a glowing complexion: Jack fruit seeds can be consumed directly. It helps prevent constipation as it is high on fiber content. This in turn helps clear constipation. A detoxified system is the first and foremost thing for a glowing complexion.
  • Flawless skin: Jack fruit seed is used to get a flawless skin. You just need to soak the dry seed with some milk and honey and grind it into a fine paste. Now apply this paste on your face evenly and let it dry completely. Wash it off to get a flawless skin within minutes.
  • Not only that: Jack fruit seeds have a very high nutrient value. They are even used for treating a number of ailments.
  • High in protein: Jack fruit seeds are high in protein. You can consume the seeds by adding them to different dishes that you cook. It can replace lentils in your daily diet.
  • Anti-cancer nutrients: Jack fruit seeds have a lot of phytonutrients that help fight cancer.
  • Comfort from indigestion: The powdered jack fruit seeds can help get instant relief from indigestion. You may sun-dry jack fruit seeds and then grind it to get powder or use the one available in the market.
  • Jack fruit seeds have been proved beneficial for hair as well. They promote good hair health through promoting hair growth.
  • Jack fruit seeds promote healthy blood circulation. Now proper blood circulation is extremely important for good hair growth. Hence it promotes hair growth.
  • Vitamin A: Jack fruit seeds are high on vitamin A, which is the one of the most important vitamins for hair health as it prevents dry and brittle hair.
  • Healthy digestion: Once again, healthy digestion is important for good hair. If your digestive system has a problem, it may affect your liver which in turn may give rise to hair fall. Jackfruit seeds promote healthy digestion and hence keep your liver and your hair fall under check.

Price & Usage:

“I apparently still pack locally in the polythene bags but with time, I want to standardize the packaging but first the public need to learn these benefits so market can expand,” Francis said.

The product in the state of flour can be mixed in water, licked or mixed with sauce depending on the purpose one wants it to play.

Speaking on the price, a kilogram of jackfruit flour at Francis’ costs Ushs5, 000 although he argues that it should have been 3 times more on his current door-door delivery model.

Future Prospects:

In the future, Francis wishes to make his product accessible country-wide and worldwide.

“My ambition first is to get this information out for people especially those who can’t access internet services to access, understand and make use of and then start up my own production company handling this same innovation.”

He calls upon the elite to continuously make known such information to help people understand the relevance of natural medicines as he echoes to Government to come in and support his Endeavor.

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