The Breadfruit Economy Initiative

Connecting Opportunities for Island Communities




Conceptual photo of a shipping container on a map

Project Description

The Breadfruit Economy Initiative (BEI) is a powerful collaborative effort to launch a Pacific Island Region-wide program promoting the use of the traditional food known as ulu, or breadfruit. The Breadfruit Economy Initiative at once creates economic vitality, builds community resilience, increases food security, showcases clean energy technologies and engages regenerative agricultural practices. Focusing on a humble tree, BEI provides an integrative program of social, economic and environmental impact.

For millennia Pacific Islanders have known what modern scientific research now affirms: breadfruit provides a nutritious, low-glycemic and gluten-free source of food, medicine and renewable materials. Recently, this incredible tree has also proven a viable means to fight diabetes and reduce hunger around the world. Incredibly, breadfruit thrives in regions most afflicted by food insecurity. A single tree is so prolific, it can produce between 400–700lbs of fruit continuously throughout the year. It is estimated, however, that over 80% of the fruit spoils on the ground because the fruit perishes quickly once ripe. Capturing loss, the Breadfruit Economy Initiative leverages this preexisting agricultural excess and turns it into viable social and economic opportunities for the peoples of the Pacific Island Region.

Commercialization of breadfruit at an industrial scale has never been attempted before, but for the past five years community leaders, agricultural scientists, researchers, engineers and business development experts have united to explore the social and economic impact of commercializing breadfruit. The anticipated outcome of this collaborative effort is a gluten-free breadfruit flour that will replace unhealthy wheat and potato-based carbohydrates in local diets, and introduced into an established global gluten-free foods market. Other breadfruit-derived products will also improve human and environmental health around the world. Global Mana helps connect communities with the resources, tools, technology and infrastructure to support this agricultural initiative, including research, specially-designed breadfruit dryers, manufacturing and packaging equipment, as well as distribution channel and market strategy.

The Breadfruit Economy Initiative aims to empower communities to employ nature-based resources and solutions around them. Breadfruit farming and processing presents a steady source of income and economic opportunity for women while promoting local wealth generation and economic stability for the greater community. Breadfruit allows even small nations in the Pacific to participate in an economic opportunity made possible by stable prices of a growing gluten-free market and demand for socially-conscious natural products. Finally, promoting the benefits of breadfruit as helpful can generate a program of improved health and nutrition.

Bridging the gaps for the tools, processes and structures for an equitable food system means putting Pacific Island communities at the center of breadfruit cultivation and distribution. The Breadfruit Economy Initiative works directly with local farmers, entrepreneurs, community organizations and governments to reinvest local actors with powerful opportunity found in their own backyard.

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