ISSN: 0041-3216 (Online), 0041-3216 (Print)
Volume 93 Special Issue 1, July 2016 International Breadfruit Conference
A historical perspective on the role of plant propagation in the distribution, development and commercialization of breadfruit as a crop for food and nutrition security. (41)
The movement of breadfruit [Artocarpus altilis (Parkinson ex F. A. Zor) Fosberg] over long distances was an ancient practice among the early peoples of the South Pacific as they moved across Oceania where it has been cultivated as a food crop for several millennia. This paper traces the role of planting material in the introduction, movement and cultivation of breadfruit as a food source, with specific reference to the Caribbean and its integration in the region’s social and cultural landscape. Although the seeded Artocarpus camansi Blanco, known in the region as breadnut or chataigne was introduced first to the region, it is the seedless breadfruit (A. altilis) that has assumed much greater significance for food. The successful transfer of seedless breadfruit to the Caribbean is described as the result of collective inputs including the indigenous knowledge of the people of the South Pacific of breadfruit propagation methods, knowledge of environmental requirements for long distance sea transportation of plants by the planners of the expeditions, and skilled, diligent gardeners on board the ships. The curators of the botanical gardens and their assistants in St. Vincent and Jamaica were responsible for the acclimatization, propagation and distribution of the introduced planting material. Now more than 200 years after the introductions and the social and cultural acceptance of breadfruit in the Caribbean, there is growing interest in the establishment of commercial orchards in the region to realise the full potential of breadfruit for food and nutrition security. The use of improved conventional propagation methods and in vitro propagation techniques to meet the challenge of providing sufficient quality planting material for establishment of orchards is also discussed.
Keywords: Seedless, environmental conditions, adventitious shoots, micropropagation