News Releases

Caribbean Breadfruit Network launched to address Food Security

For Release Upon Receipt - November 20, 2015

St. Augustine

From its humble beginnings, the versatile and nutritious breadfruit is now enjoying a wave of global interest among celebrity chefs, food processors and manufacturers, farmers, researchers, nutritionists, policy makers and environmentalists. It is in this vein that the Caribbean Breadfruit Network (CBN) was launched on November 12 at the Faculty of Food and Agriculture at The University of the West Indies (UWI) St Augustine.

The International Breadfruit Conference hosted by The UWI, in collaboration with PCS Nitrogen Limited, the Caribbean Development Bank and the Food and Agriculture Organization, in July earlier this year, demonstrated the potential contribution of breadfruit to Caribbean economies through development of successful breadfruit-based enterprises. The interest and excitement generated among over 100 participants from 24 countries, led to several major outcomes among which was a resolution by Caribbean participants to launch a CBN to support the further development of breadfruit in the region.

The launch was part of a two-day meeting to develop strategies, a medium-term action plan and a priority list of projects for the period 2015-2018, aimed at increasing breadfruit  consumption  and encouraging investment in Caribbean breadfruit-based industries. The CBN will shape the development of the Caribbean breadfruit industry to meet the region’s needs for food and nutrition security, while carving out an international space with innovative downstream enterprises.

Low in fat but nutrient rich, breadfruit provides gluten-free carbohydrates of moderate glycemic index, valuable amounts of dietary fibre, carotenoids, Vitamin C, calcium and potassium, essential fatty acids and a complete amino acid profile. This multi-purpose tree offers a versatile fruit used traditionally in the Caribbean as a staple. Small amounts are now available as vacuum-packed slices, frozen chunks, chips, flour and flour products. Modern products include muffins, pancakes, pizza, pies, cakes, ice-cream, punches and liqueurs. The wood is useful for furniture, construction and craft. Other plant parts, including the leaves yield traditional medicines, organic insecticides and paper.

The UWI’s Faculty of Food and Agriculture, designated as the main regional focal point for breadfruit research, development, training and outreach in the Caribbean region; along with the National Focal Points within the region, and the Caribbean Farmers Network (CaFAN), make up the core of the working group which will manage the CBN. This working group represents farmers and farmers’ groups, agronomists, processors, exporters, nutritionists, policy makers, researchers, educators, other experts, and public and private sector stakeholders in the breadfruit industry.  

The group has already identified strategies for advancing development of breadfruit enterprises along the value-chain by improving the use of our existing resources of breadfruit trees, the creative talents and innovativeness of our people, our unique history of breadfruit culture, utilisation, market presence and regional research to meet the food and nutrition needs of local and diasporic consumers, while enhancing livelihoods. An enabling policy environment with a very deliberate focus on developing a national and Caribbean breadfruit industry and supportive linkages with health, tourism, manufacturing, culture, environmental management are key requirements. Data-driven activities including market information will also be critical for sustainability of the industry. Implementation of the medium term-plan will require raising awareness of the significant capacity of breadfruit to meet many local and regional needs especially food security and, poverty and hunger alleviation, through forward and backward linkages.

Dr Laura Roberts-Nkrumah, Senior Lecturer in Crop Science in The UWI’s Department of Food Production and member of the CBN said, “As regional and global concerns for lifestyle diseases rise, interest in consumption of breadfruit is growing.  The window of opportunity is small but we are well positioned. Let us seize the time, get on board and catch that wave now.”

For further information, please contact the Dean’s Office at the Faculty of Food and Agriculture at (868) 662 2002 exts. 82112/82113.



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.)