Ask most people what a Jujube is and they will tell you a Jujube is a character from a Nintendo game. On a more serious note, jujube could be a big business enterprise for Currajong Disability Services as de- mand continues to grow for the exotic fruit, especially in the Far East and the Australian-Asian grocery industry.
Over the past 12 months a dedicated team of Currajong Disability Services staff, the Currajong Autism Support Group, and numerous local volunteers have ripped, planted, irrigated and treated soil at the Akuna Road farm – all to ensure a bumper jujube crop.
Despite challenges from pests such as hares, everything is on course for a good haul that will help, in part, meet the demands of the burgeoning Asian market but also, potentially, create employment for Currajong Disability Service clients and an additional income stream.
Neil Unger, CDS chairman, said the jujube fruit fetches up to $15/kg fresh. “Some like it fresh but it is also popular dry, taking on a similar consistency and taste as sticky dates,” he said.
“It is another potential arm to the CDS business model that now includes paper shredding, Carob Trees and much more,” said Neil. “We are continuing to go from strength to strength.”
The Jujube need grafting and cannot just be grown. They are tolerant of salt, cold and heat being able to withstand temps as low as -50 degrees Celsius through to +50 degrees Celsius. They are extremely resil- ient and can be profitable.
“We are hoping to expand but as you know these things take time,” said Neil. “Once this is up and running we hope and anticipate it may provide more opportuni- ties and employment.
“Again, thanks everyone for their time, effort and support,” said Neil.
By Dane Millerd