Samoan Observer – October 17, 2011
PR – The Ghana Alliance against Hunger and Malnutrition (HAG) has announced that one thousand 300mm tall Samoan variety breadfruit trees arrived in Accra, Thursday evening from a mass propagation facility outside Frankfurt, Germany.
They are of the Ma`afala and Ulu Fiti varieties of Samoa in the Pacific Islands which produce 500 kg of fruit per tree, per year and have complementary fruiting patterns resulting in shorter hungry months. The present Ghanaian breadfruit variety produces perhaps 250 or 300 kg per year, and has a single main season.
The HAG executive director, Nana Ayim Poakwah, related that he had met America’s Breadfruit Institute director, Dr Diane Ragone, some years ago and left his contact details with her because she was predicting the mass production phase would soon become a reality. In the summer of 2010, Ragone contacted Poakwah with word that the mass propagation methods were working out nicely and that Dr Jeff Marck, a Breadfruit Institute volunteer and liaison to Africa, would be in touch.
Marck, an African rural economies and population health specialist, began working with Poakwah, who had been developing breadfruit arrival plans for several years. Poakwah’s idea was to establish demonstration plantings around homesteads, schools and municipal buildings, on farms and on wasted or rough ground as breadfruit is an exceptional tree for regenerating ecoforests.
Marck had the news that an entire shipment was thriving in the care of the Jamaican Ministry of Agriculture, where previous shipments around the Caribbean did not land in the hands of master horticulturalists and that the Jamaican model was the only one which produced such high survival rates for the newly arrived plantlets. So the plants will now go to a Ghanaian agricultural research station for 4 to 6 months before going off to their community plantings.
HAG’s will now keep closely abreast of the Jamaica successes and failures as they will forever be two years ahead of these initial Ghanaian plantings. Jamaica is trying very hard for success and commercialisation. Breadfruit is their national food.
These are believed to be the first new variety breadfruit varieties reaching West Africa’s shores since the 1840s when missionaries brought a Tahitian variety from the Caribbean. This was just a few decades after the legendary voyages involving the mutiny on the Bounty and other such breadfruit-dedicated voyages brought Tahitian and other Pacific Island breadfruit varieties to the Caribbean.
Public and corporate viewings shall be arranged after the plants are stabilised when their location announced. HAG is a Ghana NGO whose executive director Mr Poakwah was responsible for starting up the Ghana School Feeding Programme and other happy Ghanaian stories. The African Breadfruit Revolution has begun.