The Breadfruit is a common food tree in Jamaica . It was introduced from Tahiti in about 1792 by Captain William Bligh, and soon
became an important food source for slaves. The first plants were established in the Bath Botanical Garden in St. Thomas . Breadfruit is now eaten by locals and visitors alike, and has become an export crop mainly to centres with West Indian migrants. Breadfruit is grown in all the other West Indian islands.
Breadfruit is an excellent source of carbohydrates, and is eaten mostly roasted, boiled or fried. Recently other recipes have been developed such as pies, pudding, punch, chips, fritters, and the male inflorescence made into a confectionery. The leaves are sometimes boiled to make a drink which is regarded as useful for relieving symptoms of heart diseases and high blood pressure. It is also used as animal feed especially during droughts. The wood which has an attractive colour is used to make furniture, and the sap is sometimes used as a glue. The plant also provides good shade for crops such as cocoa and coffee and is a beautiful ornamental.
Why grow BREADFRUIT?
Adaptable to a wide range of soils and elevations
Low incidence of pests and diseases
Good yielding; a well managed tree can yield up to 200 fruits per season.
Good market demand - local and export.
The crop can be found in most parishes, but only few orchards have been established locally. Recently through the Fruit Tree Crop Project in RADA/Ministry of Agriculture, a few orchards have been established in St. Mary, Portland and Westmoreland. Recent attempts have also been made to introduce new varieties or cultivars. Small selections exists at the University of the West Indies at Mona, St. Andrew and the College of Agriculture Science and Education at Passley Gardens in Portland . A sizeable orchard is at Agualta Vale in St. Mary.
The two main types known in the market place are:
Yellow Heart and White Heart.
The initial layout of the crop orchard is expensive but must be seen as an investment as once the trees are grown, they will continue to
provide good yields for a lifetime with the appropriate cultural
practices in place.
The cost to establish and maintain one (1) hectare to economic bearing at five (5) years is $330,000. The average yield is 7,000 kg / hectare with a cost of production of $47.00 / kg. Full economic bearing is achieved after seven years.
The fruit has good local and export potential. Fruits from well managed plants can be easily reaped with little damage. The stem should remain intact. Reaped fruits should be kept in a cool place or quickly chilled especially for the export market.
The mature fruit is exported to Europe, USA and Canada with the US being the largest market.
Competition exists from Dominica .
Export Data for Breadfruit (2000 - 2004)
Source - STATIN
Fruits are usually sold on the local market at a price of $20.00 - 25.00 per fruit in the main fruiting season (July - September) and $30. 00 - 50.00 in the off season (October - June).
Fruits are purchased at a cost of $18 - 20.00 for the export trade.
Requirements for the export market
Mature green fruits are required for the export market. Fruits must be reaped using a picking pole with bag to prevent dropping to the ground and being damaged. This type of damage leads to early ripening and spoilage.