Pacific breadfruit training focuses on new planting skills to boost industry potential
Tuesday, 22 July 2014 09:26

Ready access to high-performing breadfruit seedlings has been met with new training in the South Pacific on how to transplant seedlings generated and established using a locally-perfected tissue culture system.

Conducted at the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) Centre for Pacific Crops and Trees (CePaCT) at Narere, Fiji, the training involved a group of local Ministry of Primary Industries staff, private nursery and Nature’s Way Cooperative representatives who gained hands-on experience transplanting the sought-after breadfruit seedlings and learnt techniques to help ensure successful establishment of the plants in the field.

Funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research’s (ACIAR) Pacific Agribusiness Research for Development Initiative (PARDI) project and conducted by CePaCT research technician Arshni Shandil, the training is part of a larger endeavour, known as the Pacific Breadfruit Project (PBP), which aims to develop commercial breadfruit production systems for the Pacific Islands.

In the past year, CePaCT and the PBP project optimised a tissue culture multiplication system (using a temporary immersion bioreactor) to produce high-quality breadfruit plantlets that are more vigorous, sturdier, taller and more easily acclimatised in a screen house than plantlets grown under the previous static tissue culture system.

According to Valerie Saena Tuia, Coordinator – Genetic Resources, seed production and the quality of plant material at CePaCT has improved due to the bioreactor systems and this is providing greater support  for local breadfruit industries.

“For the first time in local history, CePaCT is able to produce high quality breadfruit plantlets at a commercially competitive rate,” said Ms Tuia.

“This means the regional industry can benefit from this service which is comparable to those offered by high-performing plant crop industries in more established economies.

“For farmers interested in establishing and managing small-scale commercial breadfruit orchards, this is great news.”

The bioreactor system involves culturing plantlets in sterile artificial nutrient medium in large culture vessels and slowly tilting at regular intervals using shelf-type apparatus, giving better space-capacity, growth and aeration to plantlets.

CePaCT, SPC’s crop and tree research and genebank centre and part of its Land Resources Division are the ‘brains’ behind the tissue culture multiplication system. Collectively, CePaCT, Nature’s Way and other industry representatives are engaged in a broad range of research work including field trials to identify and document variety fruiting patterns and develop best practices for the establishment and management of small-scale commercial breadfruit orchards..

The recent skills training also included a visit to CePaCT’s regional breadfruit genebank collection established with varieties from Samoa, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Fiji and Vanuatu. The gene bank collection is crucial to local breadfruit industry expansion and the collection is growing with funding support from the Global Crop Diversity Trust and the Australian International Climate Change Adaptation Initiative project.

Ends

Picture Caption: Participants are pictured at the breadfruit training at CePaCT, Fiji


For more information contact:

Valerie S. Tuia Coordinator – Genetic Resources E: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Julie Lloyd PARDI communications manager M: 0415 799 890


Links for further information:

CePaCT: http://www.ediblearoids.org/PHOTOGALLERY/Colocasia.aspx?aid=67

PARDI: www.spc.int/lrd (go to ‘Focus Areas)

YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCElsoBmKSL6MnOLI_zsn6Wg/videos

ACIAR: www.aciar.gov.au