Arcahaie / Breadfruit Institute
Of the estimated 1.35 million Haitian children under the age of five,
nearly one in ten…..or 130,000……will die before their fifth birthday.
Malnutrition causes more than half of these deaths.
The Breadfruit Institute’s Global Hunger Initiative (www.breadfruit.org) is a progressive way to address hunger by making good quality breadfruit varieties available in tropical and subtropical countries. Every 3.6 seconds someone dies of hunger globally. Breadfruit could provide a solution to this horrific problem.
Reforestation, food security and income generation are dire needs in Haiti. The Breadfruit tree is widely grown and used in Haiti and its fruit is an important staple crop during the fruiting season, but only one or two varieties are cultivated. Breadfruit has tremendous potential for the country. A demonstration breadfruit-planting project is being established at the ARN Foundation of Haiti’s Digue Matheux/Arcahaie nursery, in collaboration with The Breadfruit Institute. Breadfruit trees will be interplanted with fruit trees such as mango, bananas and avocados, Moringa oleifera and other plants as part of an integrated, sustainable, managed agro-forestry plantation. The idea is to set up a model management system incorporating interplanting, mulching, composting, ground covers, nitrogen fixing fuel wood trees, animal husbandry, and pruning methods to keep breadfruit trees low for ease of harvest. An important outcome is to have year-round production of food and other products and maximize land use. Breadfruit will provide a nutritious carbohydrate food for home consumption and generate income from sale of fresh fruit for processing into flour or meal. This project will provide valuable baseline data about productivity and yields of selected breadfruit varieties and integrated farming systems to expand this initiative, with the ARN Foundation, to other regions within Haiti.
The Breadfruit Institute, at the National Tropical Botanical Garden in Hawaii, (www.ntbg.org) promotes the conservation, study and use of breadfruit for food and re-forestation. The Institute manages the world’s largest collection of breadfruit, with over 120 varieties from 34 Pacific islands, the Philippines, Seychelles, Indonesia and Honduras, including some varieties that have disappeared in the native lands. The Breadfruit Institute is headed by Diane Ragone, PhD, the world’s authority on breadfruit, who has collected breadfruit varieties and studied this crop for 25 years (www.ntbg.org/breadfruit/collection).
The Breadfruit Institute and research collaborators at the University of British Columbia, working with a private sector partner, Cultivaris, (www.globalbreadfruit.com) are developing effective methods to propagate varieties that can provide a year-round supply of nutritious fruit. A system is now in place to grow and ship healthy, disease-free young breadfruit plants that will mature quickly and easily into productive trees. It is now possible to produce and distribute millions of breadfruit plants to help alleviate hunger, provide long-term food security, support sustainable agriculture, and enhance the livelihoods of farmers, not only in Haiti, but the tropics globally.