News Releases

Is breadfruit a tropical goldmine?

For Release Upon Receipt - June 9, 2015

St. Augustine

International Breadfruit Conference offers insights on food and nutrition security

ST. AUGUSTINE, Trinidad and Tobago. June 6, 2015 – If you think the importance of breadfruit is limited to a pot of ‘oil-down’, think again. The Faculty of Food and Agriculture (FFA) at The University of the West Indies (UWI) St. Augustine, with the kind sponsorship of PCS Nitrogen, the Caribbean Development Bank and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), aims to demonstrate the veritable treasure-trove that is the breadfruit at the 2015 International Breadfruit Conference, under the theme “Commercialising Breadfruit for Food & Nutrition Security.”

One of the region’s humblest provisions, the breadfruit is most valuable and the conference will address it holistically: from the historical perspective, to its health benefits, the advancements in propagation, production and postharvest technology, value-addition, marketing and economic viability along with other thematic areas. Among the conference highlights is a keynote address by Dr. Diane Ragone, Director of the Breadfruit Institute at Kauai, Hawaii who will focus on the global potential of breadfruit. This five-day conference will run from July 5 to 8 at the Hyatt Regency Trinidad, ending with the festival and exhibition at the JFK Auditorium and Undercroft at the St. Augustine Campus on July 9.

The conference has attracted presenters from the Pacific, Asia, Africa, USA and within the region and will engage key stakeholders in a special forum along the value chain. The festival and exhibition, carded for the last day of the conference, will see exhibitions on the delicious versatility of breadfruit in its many uses and preparations through the entrepreneurial efforts of farmers, agro processors and community groups from across the Caribbean. This first ever breadfruit festival in Trinidad and Tobago will also offer entertainment and a fun environment for learning more about breadfruit and chataigne (breadnut), a close relative. All local dishes and products will be on sale for the public.

The general registration for the conference is US$350.00, with special discounts for Postgraduate Students as well as groups of five or more persons. One-day passes and tickets to the awards function and dinner and field trip are also available. There is no cost to attend the festival and exhibition. For full details, log onto the conference website at

For further information and assistance, email or call 662-2002 ext. 82226.



About Dr. Diane Ragone

Dr. Ragone, who has a PhD from the University of Hawaii, is an authority on the conservation and use of Breadfruit. For the past twenty years, she has conducted horticultural and ethnobotanical studies throughout Micronesia, Polynesia, and Melanesia. Her extensive fieldwork enabled the NTBG to establish the world’s largest collection of Breadfruit at its Kahanu Garden in Hana, Maui. In 2002, the NTBG appointed Ragone director of its newly created Breadfruit Institute.

Dr. Ragone of the Breadfruit Institute at the National Tropical Botanical Garden has collected more than 120 breadfruit varieties over the past 20 years.


About The UWI

Since its inception in 1948, The University of the West Indies (UWI) has evolved from a fledgling college in Jamaica with 33 students to a full-fledged, regional University with well over 40,000 students. Today, UWI is the largest, most longstanding higher education provider in the Commonwealth Caribbean, with four campuses in Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and the Open Campus. The UWI has faculty and students from more than 40 countries and collaborative links with 160 universities globally; it offers undergraduate and postgraduate degree options in Food & Agriculture, Engineering, Humanities & Education, Law, Medical Sciences, Science and Technology and Social Sciences. UWI’s seven priority focal areas are linked closely to the priorities identified by CARICOM and take into account such over-arching areas of concern to the region as environmental issues, health and wellness, gender equity and the critical importance of innovation. Website:


(Please note that the proper name of the university is The University of the West Indies, inclusive of the “The”, hence The UWI.)