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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 757: I International Symposium on Breadfruit Research and Development

VANUATU BREADFRUIT PROJECT: SURVEY ON BOTANICAL DIVERSITY AND TRADITIONAL USES OF ARTOCARPUS ALTILIS

Authors:   M. Navarro, S. Malres, J.P. Labouisse, O. Roupsard
Keywords:   Moraceae, ethnobotany, collection, genebank, genetic resources, Pacific, PAPGREN
Abstract:
The “Vanuatu Breadfruit Project” was launched in 2004 with support from the Pacific Agricultural Plant Genetic Resources Network (PAPGREN). The main goals were to make a non-exhaustive botanical survey of breadfruit cultivars in Vanuatu, document ethnological information and collect samples of suckers or roots of each cultivar to establish the first genebank in Vanuatu and to disseminate this information and genetic material to other islands in the country. Six islands were surveyed and 69 cultivars collected and described according to standardized descriptors for passport and morphological data. A field collection of 36 cultivars which survived transport and planting was established at the Vanuatu Agricultural Research and Technical Centre (VARTC) on the island of Espiritu Santo. A new strategy is suggested to enhance the survival rate of cuttings for future collections. Vanuatu cultivars displayed a wide diversity of fruit characteristics (size, seed number, skin texture, amount and color of latex, etc.) and shape of leaves. Vernacular names and traditional uses of breadfruit by the local population were recorded using participatory methods. Each part of the tree has a very specific use, e.g., leaves in medicine, trunk for timber, male flowers against mosquitoes, latex to catch birds, and some secret parts in “black magic”. Fruits are eaten roasted on fire or as “nalot”, a paste with coconut milk, and sometimes after a few months of fermentation. A drying method observed in North Vanuatu may be a way to process fruit for export.
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