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CNMI signs on to Ulu Project

Gov. Eloy S. Inos led the transplanting into a pot of Ma’afala breadfruit plantlets brought by experts from Hawaii as part of yesterday’s workshop that kicked off the administration’s breadfruit initiative. The governor touted the breadfruit’s potential to help fuel the local economy driven mainly by tourism.“I hope this will be a good start for a new industry,” the governor told a crowd of agriculture experts, farmers, businesses and others gathered in Room D1 of Northern Marianas College yesterday afternoon.He said the demand for gluten-free food source such as breadfruit has picked up, and the CNMI—where breadfruit is a staple—is seeing its economic potential.Craig R. Elevitch, director of the Hawaii-based Agroforesty Net, and Kalani Souza, director of Olohana Foundation also based in Hawaii, flew in from Hawaii yesterday for a two-day workshop on breadfruit.The workshop, free of charge to anyone interested, continues today. It is made possible through a memorandum of understanding between the CNMI and the Pacific Business Center Program at the University of Hawaii.The governor, who dropped in at yesterday’s workshop, hopes that the CNMI’s application for federal grants to help develop a breadfruit industry will be approved.At the workshop, Elevitch guided the governor in transplanting the first of over 140 Ma’afala breadfruit plantlets into a pot.Ma’afala, a breadfruit variety, is known for its excellent eating qualities, compact tree form, and high protein, making it ideal for flour production.