MNIB with Support from the Ministry of Agriculture to boosts Grenada’s agriculture with Breadfruit plants
Grenada’s agriculture sector is set to receive a boost when the Marketing & National Importing Board (MNIB) with support from the Ministry of Agriculture releases over 2000 breadfruit plants for sale too farmers within the coming week. This initiative emanated when contacts were established after Grenada participated in the second International Breadfruit Conference in Trinidad in 2015. The
expansion of breadfruit production in Grenada is a joint initiative by the MNIB in collaboration with Ministry of Agriculture, The Caribbean Farmers Network and the US based Global Breadfruit Project Initiative.
Two varieties of breadfruit provided by Global Breadfruit poses different characteristics to what currently exist on the island. The Ma’afala variety bears fruit averaging 2 1⁄2 pounds during July to December with some off season production in January to May while the Ulu Fiti variety which averages 4 pounds is characterized by a yellow and slightly sweet flesh when mature. This variety bears in clusters and produces during the months of August to December with some fruiting in January and July. Ulu Fiti breadfruit is also an excellent variety for agro-processing for the production breadfruit chips — “French Fries”.
Breadfruit plants were received at the beginning of August 2016 and have since been accommodated at the Ministry of Agriculture run propagating station in Maran, St. John where they have been cared for over the past months. The MNIB sees this initiative as one which will simultaneously augment food security, mitigate malnutrition and non-communicable diseases, and provide local farmers with increased economic opportunities. According to the CEO of MNIB, Ruel Edwards, “This boost is directly aligned with MNIB’s 2020 vision to increase supply of the widest variety of agriculture produce, increased export opportunities and to increase agro-processing in Grenada”. Edwards added that MNIB is constantly listening and responding to its farmers as is seen with the sale of irrigation supplies and facilitation of financial credit for agricultural purposes by our farmers.
Global Breadfruit supplies non-GMO, optimal breadfruit varieties in commercial quantities and is currently collaborating with similar projects in many Caribbean islands, including Dominica,Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, Jamaica, Haiti, and Puerto Rico, and now Grenada. Through their collaboration with the Breadfruit Institute at the National Tropical Botanical Garden in Hawaii, Global Breadfruit has access to cutting edge technology and research which enabled them to focus on health and productivity, processing and production plus the analysis of the nutritional content of each variety.
Plants can be purchased for EC$7 and payable at any of the MNIB retail outlets or Packhouse in River Road. As breadfruit plant goes on sale within weeks, the Ministry of Agriculture and MNIB are gearing up to provide technical advice to the breadfruit farmers from the land preparation stage to production.