Breadfruit, Climate Change And An Agriculturist’s Vision For Caribbean Food Security

Mr. Omardath Maharaj, Trinidadian Agricultural Economist and Instructor at the University of the West Indies’ (UWI) Faculty of Food and Agriculture (Photo via Forbes)
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Caribbean dialogue surrounding food and nutritional security, climate change adaptation and mitigation, deteriorating public health and reduced sustainable livelihoods is highly fragmented.

With economic over-dependence on tourism, extreme reliance on imported foods, growth in non-communicable diseases, increased hunger, malnutrition and obesity and heightened vulnerability to the impacts of climate change, a holistic solution is required. A Trinidadian Agricultural Economist and Instructor at the University of the West Indies’ (UWI) Faculty of Food and Agriculture believes he has the answer. Breadfruit.

Breadfruit trees in the Botanical Garden, St. Vincent and the Grenadines

It is December 2019 and Omardath Maharaj is attending the Barrackpore Police Youth Club annual end of year celebration for members and their families, as a representative of the breadfruit initiative that he has playfully captioned ‘105 To Stay Alive’. But unlike the red and green array of fancy wrappings at typical Christmas events, Maharaj is in attendance with 105 gifts of breadfruit trees.

Given its adaptability to local climates and potential to contribute to food and nutritional security, income generation and the preservation of traditional food systems, all of which have been challenged by climate change, Maharaj believes that breadfruit should be much higher on the agriculture policy agenda.

But breadfruit’s image has been one of minor economic importance. Despite widespread growth throughout the region, many trees grow on abandoned land and there is limited focus on commercial orchards.

Read more at: Forbes Magazine

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