How Breadfruit Can Solve World Hunger

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SEATTLE — A prickly fruit could make a huge impact on hunger relief. This new hunger eradicator is called breadfruit. It has a green bumpy outside and a starchy potato-like inside. Breadfruit grows on tall trees in tropical areas like Hawaii, Samoa and the Caribbean. What makes the fruit a superfood is its high energy content of carbohydrates, a low fat content and a potassium content equivalent to about ten bananas.

How might this supercharged breadfruit feed the hungry? The National Tropical Botanical Garden stated that about 80 percent of the world’s hungry already reside in tropical or subtropical areas. Many of these regions have breadfruit trees; if they do not already have them, their tropical conditions would be conducive to growing them.

Breadfruit trees are easy to maintain and have the ability to grow in abundance. The trees bear fruit within three to five years of being planted. One tree can continue to produce fruit for many decades; the larger the tree the more abundant the fruit.

Several organizations are taking interest in this superfood as a potential hunger alleviator. Organizations such as Global Breadfruit, Breadfruit Institute and The Trees That Feed Foundation have been planting these bountiful trees in the world’s most impoverished areas in hopes that they will create a stable and reliable food source for the communities. Many of these places do not already possess breadfruit trees. Haiti has received a number of these trees. The organizations have created a goal to feed at least 1,000 orphans every day. Right now, scientists estimate that about six trees can feed a family of five for about a year. This is a goal that organizations like the ones mentioned above are working towards achieving.

Haiti has received a number of these trees. The organizations have created a goal to feed at least 1,000 orphans every day. Right now, scientists estimate that about six trees can feed a family of five for about a year. This is a goal that organizations like the ones mentioned above are working towards achieving.

Since breadfruit somewhat resembles potatoes, it can be prepared in similar ways. It can be fried, baked, mashed, sliced or chipped. The diversity is good for feeding many with variety and cost efficiency.

Breadfruit has been known as ulu to Hawaiian and Polynesian communities for many centuries. The Hawaiians have a legend of the god known as Ku. In the story, Ku saves his family from starvation by burying himself in the ground and sprouting an abundant breadfruit tree. Beyond these stories, the fruit has actually helped Hawaiians, Polynesians and many other impoverished people. Scientists hope that it will be able to tackle world hunger on a large scale in the near future.

Katelynn Kenworthy

Photo: Flickr

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