Recently on the 7th of May 2021, the Tutu Rural Training Centre held its breadfruit symposium. The aim of the symposium is to empower farmers on alternative cropping for sustainable farming practices, mapping out the value chain from the field to the dish. The symposium mainly focused on the value addition of breadfruit for a crop that is totally a waste but to make it more resourceful. Most of the discussion is based on the commercialization of breadfruit at the same time awareness of market demand for a gluten-free product.

The Tutu Rural Training Centre’s ongoing involvement in the development of breadfruit as a commodity continues to open up doors for a bright future. With TRTC working together with the Pacific Breadfruit project (via PIFON) we have discovered that for the future, there are major opportunities in supplying processed breadfruit products to export markets. These markets are divided into two broad segments: the gluten/grain-free product market, and the market based on processing advantages potentially offered by breadfruit. However, for these markets to be realized, raw material supply constraints have to be overcome and there needs to be a substantial capital investment and private sector involvement. Farmers are being encouraged to look at the opportunities that arise from the development of breadfruit as a commodity within the local economy and at the same time increase our awareness of its health benefits as a staple food.

A particular opportunity is the development of breadfruit into breadfruit flour as a substitute for imported grains, particularly wheat flour. Today our large domestic market is foreseen as been highly driven by non-communicable diseases (NCDs) with our health concerns together with the future impact of climate increasing the relative price of imported grains. The market opportunities for breadfruit created by health and nutrition considerations have seen that our diet here in Fiji has undergone a nutrition transition, especially on our locally grown food to those primarily based on processed, imported, foods. Our current diets are generally considered as nutritionally-inferior to traditional diets. This has been a major contributor to non-communicable diseases (NCDs) which are now prevalent throughout the Fiji region.

The Tutu breadfruit symposium concludes with a finding that a substantial increase in breadfruit consumption can make a significant contribution to the reduction of NCDs and thus have large social and economic benefits for our economy. The recent display of value-added products from breadfruit flours opens up doors for new development.