A publication on breadfruit is being hailed by Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Audley Shaw, as a useful resource in increasing production of the tree crop as Jamaica looks to further reduce its food-import bill.
The ‘Breadfruit Germplasm Collection’ written by Professor Laura B. Roberts-Nkrumah of the Faculty of Food and Agriculture at the University of the West Indies (UWI), St. Augustine Campus, was officially launched on Tuesday (September 3), at the UWI Mona Campus.
It highlights the diverse characteristics of breadfruit and select cultivars, and is a valuable resource for Ministries of Agriculture in the tropics, agricultural-related organisations and institutions and individuals.
Minister Shaw, in his remarks at the launch, noted that some 226 years ago after Captain Bligh brought breadfruit to the islands, information of the tree crop remains sparse, contributing to it being an underutilised crop.
“It is pretty ironic that breadfruit was, in fact, first introduced in Jamaica and the Caribbean against the background of a shortage of imported foodstuff, as well as the shortage of locally grown food crops, as a result of the impact of both hurricanes and droughts, which destroyed those crops,” he noted.
“The breadfruit was introduced as a staple, but was not embraced by the population. These days, we face somewhat similar issues of a high food-import bill and, of course, the negative impact of drought and hurricanes on our food supply,” Mr Shaw added.
He noted that the breadfruit and other locally grown tree crops are part of the solution to these perennial challenges.
“What this publication does for us is to legitimise the growing recognition of the value and vast potential of the breadfruit. Nutritionally, breadfruit is now being classified as a super food, and as outlined in the introduction to this publication, it is a source of nutrients ranging from protein, essential amino acids, carbohydrates, fibre, vitamins and minerals,” Mr. Shaw said.
Meanwhile, Professor Roberts-Nkrumah noted that the book is a basic tool “that we must have if we are going to embark on any annual (breadfruit) industry”.
For further information on the book, persons can contact the UWI Press at (876) 977-2659, 702-4081/2 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.