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Global Breadfruit Summit : Breadfruit Development

August 2023

Sustainable Pathways

The Global Breadfruit Summit has drawn insights from prominent figures, including keynote speakers Mitaera Ngatae Teatuakaro Michael (Mike) Tavioni, and Ramsay Taum, on a path forward for Breadfruit Development aligned with cultural heritage and modern sustainability.

Reflecting on ancestral narrative, Tavioni emphasized the journey involved carrying a treasure trove of invaluable assets. Among these were plants of nutritional and medicinal worth, coupled with seeds of pragmatic and resilient timber—essentially laying the foundation for transplantation upon new lands.

“When our ancestors voyaged crossing Te Moana Nui a Kiva (Pacific Ocean) they carried useful items, plants of nutritional and medicinal value and seeds of practical and durable wood.”

He emphasized the significance of the breadfruit, known as ‘Kuru’ in Cook Islands Maori, in this historical context. Today, it stands as a pivotal source of dietary carbohydrates within the Cook Islands. Thriving across a spectrum of tropical terrains, from fertile alluvial soils to coral sands, the breadfruit emerges as a linchpin of food security for the region.

“Even during the two-year Covid pandemic lockdown, where businesses felt the impact, the Cook Islands’ populace continued to thrive. This vitality was made possible by robust food security, supported by diverse crops like bananas, taro, and, notably, breadfruit, complemented by livestock and bountiful oceanic resources.”

In an era dominated by global concerns over food security, health, and overall well-being, the Global Breadfruit Summit provides an imperative platform to exchange insights and deliberate on the prospective trajectory of breadfruit development within the Cook Islands and beyond.

Tavioni’s vision extends to fostering a breed of breadfruit development that seamlessly integrates with the crop’s heritage, rooted in traditional wisdom. He envisions the establishment of a specialized nursery dedicated to cultivating the diverse array of breadfruit varieties indigenous to the Cook Islands — an embodiment of sustainable progress that acknowledges cultural roots.

Ramsay Taum, echoing Tavioni’s sentiments, expressed the symbiosis between the past and the future.

“Our cultural foundations hold the blueprints for successful breadfruit cultivation. It’s pivotal that our efforts bridge historical legacy with upcoming prospects, ensuring that breadfruit development remains true to our heritage while propelling us into the future.”

Taum’s perspective highlights a trajectory that converges ancient wisdom with modern strategies, forging a path that respects cultural heritage while embracing innovation.

The shared views of Tavioni and Taum echo a call for purposeful, culturally embedded progress in the realm of breadfruit development—a perspective that resonates significantly within the broader context of the Global Breadfruit Summit.

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