Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Hon. Audley Shaw (left) takes keen interest in the gluten free breadfruit flour being shown to him by Director of the Jeffrey Town Farmers Association, Ivy Gordon, at the launch of the publication Breadfruit Germplasm Collection, At the University of the West Indies (UWI) St. Augustine Campus, authored by Professor Laura B. Roberts-Nkrumah, at the UWI, Mona Campus on September 3.
In keeping with Government’s drive to industrialise and commercialise the production of several non-traditional crops, Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Audley Shaw has welcomed the publication of Professor Laura Roberts-Nkrumah’s book on The Breadfruit Germplasm Collection, University of the West Indies, St Augustine.
In the current context of the shift from traditional crops such as sugar cane and the reallocation of lands for the development of alternative crops, Mr Shaw said there was now “tremendous interest” in crops such as bamboo, orchard crops and food tree crops such as breadfruit.
The Minister was speaking at the launch of the publication on September 3 at the Multifunction Room, Mona Library, University of the West Indies.
“What this publication does for us,” Minister Shaw said, “ is to strengthen and legitimize the growing recognition of the value and vast potential of the breadfruit.
“ Breadfruit is now being classified as a super food and, as outlined in the introduction to this publication it is a source of nutrients ranging from protein, essential amino acids, carbohydrates, fibre, vitamins and minerals,” he added.
Mr. Shaw noted further that the breadfruit was introduced as a staple in Jamaica and the Caribbean over 200 years ago, as a result of the shortage of imported foodstuff as well as the shortage of locally grown food crops in the wake of both hurricanes and droughts which destroyed those crops. The breadfruit was not embraced by the enslaved population at the time and has become an underutilised crop.
Minister Shaw identified Government’s plans for a National Home-grown School Feeding Programme and a National Fruit Tree Planting Programme as part of the strategy to promote the production and use of more local produce.
In her remarks, author of the publication, Professor Roberts- Nkrumah noted that since the 1950s, consumption of breadfruit in the Caribbean has declined dramatically. Her book, which details the characteristics of 33 varieties of breadfruit, makes a case for the commercialisation of the crop based on its nutritional, medicinal and industrial uses.
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