SAMOA GETS ULU CHECK
The Government of Samoa received a check for sales of Samoan breadfruit cultivar as the result of a landmark benefit-sharing agreement between the National Tropical Botanical Gardens, (NTBG) and the Samoan government, entered into eight years ago.
The announcement was made by the Chief Executive Officer for the Scientific Research Organisation of Samoa, (SROS) Dr Seuseu Tauafiafi during the opening ceremonies for the 2017 Pacific and Global Breadfruit Summit Tuesday this week.
The Associate Minister of Agriculture Faasootauloa Pati Taulapapa received a check of close to $14,000 tala, from a representative of NTBG.
The funds are part of the agreement with the Samoan government, which authorizes NTBG to act as Samoa’s agent to distribute Samoan breadfruit varieties globally through Cultivaris/Global Breadfruit, a horticultural partner with growing facilities in California, Europe and Central America.
For each tree sold, NTBG receives a net licensing fee and gives half of that fee to the Samoan government, based on a memorandum of understanding.
The foundation for the agreement stems back to the 1980s when Dr. Ragone spent years of collecting breadfruit varieties throughout the tropical Pacific. In order to put greater emphasis on the conservation and study of this important food crop, NTBG formed its Breadfruit Institute in 2003 with Dr. Ragone at the helm.
Dr. Ragone said in a press release that the Breadfruit Institute now has the means to produce and distribute millions of breadfruit trees for tree planting projects in the tropics, where hunger and lack of food sustainability are prevalent.
“In recent years,” Ragone said, “trees of a superior variety have been distributed by Global Breadfruit to 14 countries, including Haiti, Jamaica, Ghana, Nigeria and Myanmar.”
Work by Dr. Susan Murch, now at the University of British Columbia, Okanagan, has put two Samoan varieties, Ma‘afala and ‘Ulu Fiti, into mass production by Cultivaris, as well as other varieties from the Pacific.
“At this critical time of global food security issues, these exciting partnerships now make it possible for the Breadfruit Institute to make significant advances in promoting the cultivation and use of breadfruit,” Ragone said.
In addition, the agreement supports conservation and helps countries of origin build capacities of breadfruit varieties. “It will use this incomparable collection to return benefits to Pacific nations and their people, helping to perpetuate traditional crop varieties, knowledge, and cultural practices involving breadfruit,” said Ragone. “It’s a win-win.”
The National Tropical Botanical Garden is a not-for-profit, non-governmental institution with almost 2,000 acres of gardens and preserves in Hawai‘i and Florida.
Its mission is to enrich life through discovery, scientific research, conservation, and education by perpetuating the survival of plants, ecosystems, and cultural knowledge of tropical regions.
NTBG’s Breadfruit Institute, breadfruit.ntbg.org, promotes the conservation and use of breadfruit for food and reforestation.
Found online at www.NTBG.org, the NTBG is supported primarily through donations and grants.