Breadfruit Agroforestry for Pacific Island Revitalization

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2017: $73,689.00
Projected End Date: 03/31/2020
Grant Recipient: Permanent Agriculture Resources
Region: Western
State: Hawaii
Principal Investigator:
Craig Elevitch
Permanent Agriculture Resources

Information Products


  • Fruits: avocados, bananas, citrus, papaya, pineapples, Breadfruit
  • Nuts: coconut, pili nut
  • Vegetables: taro
  • Additional Plants: coffee, ginger, herbs, native plants, trees, medicinal plants, kava, noni
  • Animals: bees
  • Miscellaneous: mushrooms


  • Crop Production: agroforestry, biological inoculants, continuous cropping, contour farming, cover crops, forest farming, intercropping, multiple cropping, no-till, nutrient cycling, organic fertilizers
  • Education and Training: extension, technical assistance, workshop, publications
  • Farm Business Management: budgets/cost and returns, farm succession, value added, whole farm planning
  • Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity
  • Pest Management: competition, mulches - general, prevention
  • Production Systems: agroecosystems, holistic management, organic agriculture, permaculture
  • Soil Management: green manures, organic matter
  • Sustainable Communities: local and regional food systems, quality of life

    Proposal abstract:

    This project will enhance the ability of Pacific Island agricultural professionals to train producers in breadfruit agroforestry based on indigenous knowledge and modern science to regenerate degraded lands, produce large quantities of gluten-free nutritious food, and stimulate creative local food  enterprise development. Prior to Western contact, agroforestry systems with breadfruit trees as a major component provided large quantities of nutritious starchy food for people and livestock, while protecting and enhancing soil and watershed quality. Many of these breadfruit agroforests in the U.S.-affiliated Pacific Islands were removed during the 1900’s to accommodate plantation monocultures, open pasture, and urbanization.

    Over the past several years, breadfruit has attracted renewed attention for its commercial potential in large-scale export markets, which has in turn brought a wave of conventional monoculture plantings reliant upon synthetic chemical inputs. Many traditional leaders, NGO’s, extension programs, and farmer organizations are calling for breadfruit cultivation in sustainable systems indigenous to the region, a legacy that extends back millennia, to be revitalized for the modern context.

    This project brings together a collaborative team of experts in breadfruit, agroforestry, agronomy, and value-added processing to produce a manual for breadfruit agroforestry, present workshops on seven U.S.-affiliated Pacific Islands, and create two instructional videos.

    Breadfruit’s exceptional versatility (baked goods, vegetable, desserts, etc.) will be highlighted to stimulate creative local food ventures. Additionally, five other crops selected for wide adaptability, high productivity, nutritious yields, commercial potential, and compatibility in breadfruit agroforestry will be highlighted, encouraging producers to develop a portfolio of crops to mitigate environmental and market risks.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    This project will provide professional development training (manual, videos, and workshops) for breadfruit agroforestry based upon indigenous knowledge and modern agroforestry techniques to address problems of environmental degradation, nutrition and food security, depressed local food economies, and susceptibility to weather extremes due to climate change in the U.S.-affiliated Pacific Islands.

    Objective 1: Author a manual for breadfruit agroforestry for the U.S.-affiliated Pacific Islands. Subjects include: complementary crop selection, layout, site preparation, establishment techniques, crop management, organic matter production, crop harvest and value-added processing. The manual will be at least 60 pages in length, illustrated by 50 or more full-color photos and illustrations. In addition to printed copies for workshop participants, the manual will be posted to the project team’s respective web sites for free download. The manual will be completed within 6 months of the project start.

    Objective 2: Present professional development workshops in Hawai‘i, Marshall Islands, Kosrae, Pohnpei, Palau, Guam, and American Samoa. Each workshop will be 2 or 3 days long, depending upon the location and flight schedules. Topics covered are those included in the manual. Workshops will include a mix of classroom-style presentations and hands-on activities, including field visits and value-added processing activities. We expect that each workshop will be attended by a minimum of 25 agricultural professionals, policymakers, and educators, for a minimum total of 175 participants. In some locations, the number of participants may be considerably larger (our past experience has been 60–100 participants). Workshops will be complete within 12 months of the project start.

    Objective 3: Based on video recorded at the workshops and by the project team before and after the workshops, two videos will be produced that, along with the manual, will expand the value of the project far beyond workshop participants. Each video will be 10–15 minutes in length and cover breadfruit agroforestry and related products for Pacific Islands. Videos will be posted to YouTube with links from the project team’s respective web sites. Videos will be complete within 18 months of the project start. Workshop participants will be notified of the completion of the videos, as will the general public through a media campaign. Press releases will be sent through several channels, including Pacific island agricultural journals, libraries, internal university and USDA newsletters, and social media.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.