Pacific Breadfruit Pilot Project To Be Held In Fiji

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Program to establish breadfruit as commercial crop

By Repeka Nasiko

SUVA, Fiji (Fiji Times, July 25, 2013) – Fiji has been chosen to pilot a climate adaptation agriculture project, which if successful could be mirrored in other parts of the Pacific.

The Pacific Breadfruit Project (PBP) that began in the Western Division earlier this month is seen as the answer to addressing the expected global decrease of overall rice production in tropical countries because of climate change.

According to the first collaborating corporate bodies piloting the project, Natures Way Ltd. and Kokosiga Company, the first breadfruit orchards would be established in Nadi.

Kokosiga Company manager Livai Tora said the main objective of PBP was the establishment of breadfruit as a commercial small holder based orchard crop.

"Specifically to achieve this objective, the PBP has embarked on a number of applied research activities," Mr. Tora said.

"These are being implemented in the Western Division and include setting up trials to determine best propagation practices for mass production of breadfruit seedlings of market-preferred varieties, including the evaluation of tissue cultured breadfruit using a bioreactor system.

"In collaboration with a private sector partner, a model commercial scale breadfruit nursery is being established to produce large volumes of high quality seedlings for the field trials and orchard establishment.

"Despite the abundance of breadfruit trees around Fiji, and in other Pacific Islands, no nursery facility currently produces large quantities of the preferred breadfruit varieties. This lack of planting material is a factor that has precluded farmers from planting breadfruit orchards.

"Other key areas that would be implemented in the project include establishing field trials to determine best agronomic practices for commercial breadfruit orchards, economic analysis to support identification of best practices for a commercial breadfruit orchard, and information dissemination that promote best practices for commercial breadfruit production."

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