Now: Hope that Samoans will embrace breadfruit flour produced locally

Swains Rep. Su’a Alexander E. Jennings speaks of promoting its use
fili@samoanews.com

Swains Rep. Su’a Alexander E. Jennings is hopeful that Samoans will adopt and embrace gluten free breadfruit flour, which is being produced locally by his mini mill operation while ASG is waiting to see if this is an effective industry to purchase.

“Samoans are not used to seeing breadfruit flour, but it’s a great idea,” said Su’a in a Samoa News interview. “A lot of times I try to promote it... and convince people it’s a good idea and I give them samples but it’s on display in their homes instead of using it.”

Asked if it’s going to be hard to convince Samoan people to use breadfruit flour, Sua said, “I don’t know. I’m trying to convince the older people, because I think there are some old Samoan dishes (food) that you can make with breadfruit flour and will be excellent.”

Su’a’s local mini mill operation produces breadfruit flour, using a retrofitted freight container dehydrator that he developed locally. And he has already distributed samples of the breadfruit flour to friends, relatives, lawmakers and a handful of news reporters.

Since Samoa News reported early this month about Su’a’s operation already producing breadfruit flour, there have been several questions from both local and off island readers with most of them wanting to know if it really works — using breadfruit flour instead of the regular flour (wheat- white or brown) sold in stores.

“I’m just hoping to convince Samoans that this flour is good and it works. It does work,” Su’a said and reiterated that he has used breadfruit flour to make goodies such as “Samoan papa”, cookies, pancakes, shortbread and hash browns.

“I’m thinking of putting together recipes... to get people to use breadfruit flour,” he said and noted that before the last Fono session ended, he shared breadfruit flour samples with Fono colleagues, who reported back to him that “it’s good” and some of them used the flour to bread-chicken for frying.

Additionally, breadfruit flour can be used to make pizza, he said adding that a local pizza place has already done it as a test and “it turned out excellent.”

As House Agriculture Committee chairman, Su’a said “the whole objective is to focus on local consumption” and provide another avenue for an export for American Samoa, who’s economy has depended on the canneries and fishing for decades.

“With the situation on the local fishing industry, American Samoa could easily be the hub to bring breadfruit from other islands here and process it here as a Made in the USA product,” he said — like fish that is brought into the territory for processing at the canneries and this can be done for breadfruit to mill into flour. “American Samoa could be the hub in the Pacific for processing breadfruit flour.”

Su’a acknowledged that “there aren’t a lot of people screaming for breadfruit flour at this time, but this is getting a lot of attention.” For example, a few weeks ago, he received a request from a New Jersey based research and development company, contacted to do some research for a Great Britain firm, wanting gluten free breadfruit flour after which they were told to contact American Samoa “it has the best flour.”

The Great Britain company “wanted to extend their gluten free product line using breadfruit flour,” Sua said, adding that he sent to the research and development company about 14 pounds of breadfruit flour from his local mill operations. “I’m excited to find out their findings.”

He is pleased that he was contacted to provide the product, when there are other locations in the world currently producing breadfruit flour.

Su’a said he has been working with the territorial government, such as the Commerce Department and Governor’s Office — and “they are waiting to see where it is most effective to pursue this industry for American Samoa.”

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