Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Boosting breadfruit in Fiji

Training land owners in breadfruit propagation techniques could provide a big boost for a crop that could potentially become one of Fiji’s most important food industries.

A trial of a novel approach to establishing breadfruit has given a group of young landholders the ability to propagate breadfruit plants for their own farms and for commercial sale.

Fiji farmers with breadfruit suckers (photo: Livai Tora,
Koko Siga Ltd  Fiji)
Conducted by Fiji’s own Tutu Training Center (TRTC), with funding through ACIAR’s Pacific Breadfruit Project (PBP), the initial training attracted over 100 male and female farmers from Vanua Levu villages.

Breadfruit is a sought-after commodity, both nationally and internationally, so the significant educational and plant-breeding benefits from the training make an interesting case study for future expansion of the industry.

Last year, PBP researchers conducted a survey and training in collaboration with the TRTC across seven villages in the Tunuloa peninsula of Vanua Levu (the second largest island of Fiji). The survey:
  • provided hands-on training on marcotting methods of propagation
  • gathered data on breadfruit varieties and fruiting patterns
  • provided training and promotion of breadfruit as a crop to village farmers
  • helped replenish the PBP planting material collection destroyed in the 2012 floods
  • lay the early foundations for a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship between the training centre, the PBP and breadfruit resource owners in collaboration with the Fiji Ministry of Agriculture and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC’s) Centre for Pacific Crops and Trees (CePact).
A lady farmer has hands-on training on propagating breadfruit
using root suckers (photo: Livai Tora, Koko Siga Ltd  Fiji)
This survey and accompanying training have shown there is strong interest in breeding and propagating high-performing breadfruit varieties among smallholder farmers to boost village outcome.

Based on the success of this work, the PBP team now plans to expand their survey and training to cover other villages, in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, SPC CePact and TRTC. These efforts will help to potentially develop more village-based nurseries (through the Tutu network) to propagate breadfruit for the emerging industry on VitiLevu.

By Julie Lloyd (PARDI Communications), Mr Livai Tora and Dr Andrew McGregor (Koko Siga Pacific)

More information:
The PBP is part of ACIAR’s  Pacific Agribusiness Research for Development Initiative (PARDI) program.

This article has been reproduced from 'Breadfruit and the benefits of farmer training' in PARDI Capacity Building in the South Pacific

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