Careers & Education

TTF Foundation brings 600 new breadfruit trees to JA

Sunday, August 07, 2011    

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THE Trees That Feed (TTF) Foundation will next week ship some 600 breadfruit trees to Jamaica, as part of its ongoing efforts to reforest tropical areas that produce edible fruit.

The goal, the foundation's website explains, is "to feed people while benefiting the environment".

The trees being sent to the island this week are a new variety called Ma'afala, which originates in Samoa.

"It is higher in nutrition than other varieties, with a similar taste," noted a release from the foundation. "Ma'afala trees will not grow as tall as other varieties, which makes the fruit easier to reap, and leads to less waste."

The Government agricultural station at Orange River, near Highgate in St Mary will care for the trees until they are of a size large enough for donation to basic schools or to small farmers, through the Rural Agricultural Development Agency.

"TTF Foundation acknowledges the help and support of the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, who have provided resources and support," the release said.

To get its work done, the TTF Foundation also works in conjunction with several partner organisations, including Michigan State University, the University of St Thomas in Minnesota, the National Tropical Botanic Gardens, and Compatible Technology International -- all out of the United States.

"Together we are actively working to develop methods to preserve and process the breadfruit into flour and other products, and ultimately create an export demand," the release noted.

Founded in 2009, the TTF Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation concerned with people in tropical countries where increases in food costs have the greatest impact. The cost of foods, such as wheat, corn and rice, which together form a large percentage of the diet in the developing world, are imported. The objective of the work of the foundation is, therefore, to introduce new varieties of fruit crops -- from breadfruit to mango, tamarind, naseberry, and lychee -- in order to help alleviate the need for imports.

The foundation has opted to begin its efforts in Jamaica where founder Mary McLaughlin grew up. Already, the foundation has assisted with the planting of more than 3,000 trees on the island, with plans to expand to Haiti and elsewhere in the Caribbean.

Mary & Mike cap:

Mary McClaughlin, founder of the Trees That Feed Foundation, with husband Mike in Lake Forest, Illinois, USA. They were there on Friday to share information on the work of the foundation.

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