Increasing Food & Nutrition Security, Viable livelihoods And Climate Adaptation In The Pacific
Nature’s Way Cooperative’s Kaitu Erasito inspects a breadfruit orchard in Nadi
After a lapse of 15 months, Nature’s Way Cooperative says Pacific businesses need to grow to meet the demand following the reset action of breadfruits export to New Zealand in September.
“There’s a large market that even collectively in the Pacific, we will not be able to meet the demand,” said extension and research officer, Kaitu Erasito. “But to produce and provide consistently to this market, we must start somewhere and growing the plant is a very good start.”
“In Fiji, it grows ‘wild’ in household backyard gardens and around villages which is not seen as a viable crop and so cannot make a major contribution to national food security because it doesn’t offer sufficient supply of consistent quality.”
Nature’s Way Cooperative is working with export farmer members to develop commercial breadfruit orchards and as Kaitu Erasito explains, is more than meeting market targets.
“Developing breadfruit orchards can create a major impact because it has great potential to food and nutrition security, viable livelihoods and climate adaptation.”
“Over the years we’ve seen the brutal effects of natural disasters in some areas of Fiji and where the only remaining crop left standing in some of these areas was breadfruit while others were completely destroyed.”
“As a standalone crop growing in these systems, it’s often ignored and left on its own to grow in height and breadth, which can be a challenge during harvest periods for commercial export purposes.”
“It’s why orchards are an essential requirement to support fresh exports and commercial processing, to have that consistent supply and grade applicable that’s needed to go through the value chain process and ultimately the breadfruit market.”
Kaitu Erasito said key lessons from the Nature’s Way Cooperative orchard development model showed the need to evaluate breadfruit orchards on different agro-ecological conditions and the importance of intercropping.