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Technology developed in Am Samoa can help lay foundation for Pac breadfruit industry

American Samoa can be a regional breadfruit hub, including training, especially with a locally developed and built dehydrator, and the American Samoa hub can be replicated in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands for the Asian market, according to a report by the University of Hawaii Pacific Business Center Program ‘Pacific Regional Breadfruit Initiative’ (PRBI) project to the Bank of Hawaii Foundation, which provided $5,000 in grant funding last year for the project.

The solar-powered dehydrator refitted in a shipping container was developed by Swains Rep. Su’a Alexander E. Jennings for his mini operation to milingl breadfruit into flour. Su’a’s operation as well as the dehydrator have been assessed by an off island team. (See yesterday’s and Monday’s edition for details.)

According to the Nov. 4 report, the PRBI team of experts can help lay the foundation for a regional breadfruit industry utilizing technology developed in American Samoa, with standards set by US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and taught in Pago Pago for local and regional training for participating island governments and organizations.

“American Samoa can then be the regional site for breadfruit industry training, USDA processing standards certification, product import and export compliance training, purchase and ordering of retrofitted freight container dehydrators, warehousing development and management training, milling and a variety of job needs and skill sets that will generate employment and opportunities for local people, the youth in particular,” the repot says.

Furthermore, Pago Pago can become a template that can be replicated in CNMI for the Asian market linked to the Federated States of Micronesia, Palau and the Republic of the Marshall Islands. It can also be the template for all island governments interested in infrastructure development for local and export market, assuring greater self‐reliance and local benefit, the report points out.

It also says that a regional breadfruit industry linked to a very high demand market engenders job creation and opportunities that will not only benefit the people of the islands, but provide a reason for so many successful Pacific Islanders throughout Hawaii and the nation to return home where job opportunities, fundamental to the support needs of a regional industry seeking to meet high global market demands, will be waiting.

The report went on to point out that breadfruit creates amazing opportunities to address hunger and health issues around the world, particularly of island children threatened with the spread of diabetes and obesity.

“Compelling research and development work by leaders in the field affirm traditional practices of agroforestry and sustainable tree health along with environmental stability and cellular propagation,” it says.

“Traditional wisdom of the uses of breadfruit for food security and its resilience is central to disaster preparedness, especially where imports of food far exceed local food production,” it says, adding that in Hawai’i nearly 90% of food is imported. “This is a particularly alarming fact within an era of climate change, sea level rise and proliferating cyclonic conditions.