Breadfruit is an economic tree that is rich in energy although some people refer to it as vegetable. It contains carbohydrates,fiber, and minerals such as phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, zinc and manganese. Breadfruit farming is good for agroforestry because you can conveniently combine it with other trees and vegetables.
This plant is mostly found in the Pacific Island, Malay Peninsula, Southeast Asia and other parts of the world. In Nigeria it is mostly found in the Southeast but can grow in any warm environment. This tree helps in food security and have many beneficial purposes to man. Such as medicinal, nutritional and economic values.
The fruit weighs about 3kg-5kg and can be ground into flour for making candies, Crips and pancakes. It can be made into drinks, used in preparing cakes, snacks and cookies.
When eaten raw the taste is like that of cassava, it has potato or bread flavour when cooked. The plant (leaves) is a source of food to livestock such as goats, pigs and cow.
Breadfruit matures and bear fruits in about 3-5 years and continue to produce for longer years. Unlike most economic trees bread fruit requires little attention, effort and inputs and can withstand harsh conditions. Ugwa plant is beneficial in Agriculture because it displays so much characteristics like moringa tree. Such characteristics include:
Enriching the soil
Provide shelter and food to birds, bats, bees which disperse seeds and pollinate crops.
To start breadfruit farming you have to be these factors into considerations; land selection,variety, soil condition, temperature, wind effect, sunlight etc.
The land should be accessible, nearness to market and a friendly environment for raising crops. You don’t have to lease any land because of their long productive years (it has a lifespan of 50-100 years). The land should be a farmland area not in a settlement.
It should not be a place in contention ensure you collect clearance from the council or Government (collect C of O). And survey the place to avoid stories that touch. Sometimes later when your farm is flourishing and producing money, some people maybe jealous. that is why it is necessary to secure the land before starting.
Remove unwanted trees, leave behind the ones that are to be used for shades and windbreaks. clear grasses and heap them for compost. Were there are no trees you have to plant crops that can grow fast to serve as shelter and wind breaks. This is for the safety of your breadfruit farming from natural disaster.
Although bread fruit trees can grow on different soil types but a well-drained sandy loam rich in organic matter; with deep soil is ideal for their growth. Avoid shallow, water log and erosion prone areas for breadfruit farming. P.H of 6.0-7.0 with adequate nutrient high in organic matter content.
Mark the field with tape and stakes for accurate measurement. Dig a hole of 45cm-60cm long, 45cm-60cm wide, 25cm-30cm deep. Dig the hole down before commencing the planting. Bury organic or compost matters for nutrients addition on the hole. So that it can gradually be releasing nutrients into the soil.
There are two types; the yellow and the white
YELLOW BREADFRUIT VARIETY
It has round (oval) shape, smooth skin during maturity , greenish brown stain sometimes stained with latex. Weighs 1.5kg-3.5kg, the flesh is light yellow during cooking and when old becomes very bright.
Yellow breadfruit fruits most from June-September and less from December-February this is the reason for their pleasant taste, softness and smoothen texture. The green or immature fruit is best for cooking while the mature ones are best for roasting.
WHITE BREADFRUIT VARIETY
The colour is yellow but same size as the yellow cultivar. When mature the skin texture will develop a little roughness. The flesh colour is creamy, the colour change is less when old or when cooked.
The taste of the fruit is mild but smooth and firm in texture than the yellow variety. It is good for boiling or frying and can only be roasted when completely matured.
They are both good for commercial breadfruit farming that can serve for local and international markets both as fresh fruits and for processing.
Bread fruit are tropical plant and will do well in a temperature of about 21°C-32°C, extreme high/low temperature will affect their growth. A well-distributed annual rainfall of 1500mm (150cm)-3000mm(300cm) is ideal for optimum growth. The plant possesses shallow root system with large canopy. Breadfruit can still survive where water is low but evenly distributed.
Bread fruit plant requires an adequate amount of sunlight to do well. It will make them to grow rapidly with to form a tall trunk with long branches. Full light will help in reducing canopy. The young seedlings should be shaded to prevent them from wilting, become stunted or possible death.
Bread fruit seedlings loose moisture quickly when their leaves are large the roots at this time are not well-developed to absorb maximum amount of water for sustenance. Provide shelter for the growing trees and allow full sunlight when matured.
continuous wind will result in crop wilting, leaf damage, stunted growth, the canopy grows toward one side due to the excessive growth coming out from the side that is shaded from the wind.
Planting is best when the rains are just starting,. To plant all year round you have to make provision for water. In that case drip irrigation is preferable. propagating through vegetative cuttings is good for fast growth and development. To be on a save side buy seedlings from registered seed/nursery companies closer to you. Hybrid breadfruit seedlings is recommended.
Remove the plastic bag from the seedling and drop it into the hole with the soil. Press the soil firmly and fill up the hole with the top soli and press again then water the seedling immediately. The next to follow is mulching.
Spacing 8m by 8m will give 156/ha and 59 trees/acre, 8m by 10m will give 125 trees/ha, 47 trees/acre and 156 trees. 10m by 10m which is the recommended spacing will give you 100 treed/ha, 49 trees/acre. You can use a spacing of 6m by 8m in breadfruit farming. But you can only plant closely if there is the possibility of adequate sunlight/moisture and good air circulation. It will make the plants to yield better.
FERTILIZATION IN BREADFRUIT FARMING
Use adequate formulation of NPK. Organic manure can be applied for good performance. Avoid excessive nitrogen as it will result in excessive shoot growth. Provide adequate phosphorus for effective shoot/vegetative growth. Especially when the rain is high because it can possibly wash off some of the nutrients.
Create a swallow hole round the seedlings and spray fertilizer around the hole; cover with sand to prevent water from washing them away.
Cut or prune the tree branches between 1-1.2m tall. Remove every tangled tree and allow straight, neat and healthy branches.
Use sharp instrument like knife to slightly cut about a node of the breadfruit plant. It should be done anytime of the year during dry season but before they are 2 and ½ years old so that the branches would have attain good structure.
Pruning will help in the development of more branches but don’t allow any branches to result in overcrowding. The cut area should be allowed to heal naturally. Don’t use paint on the surface because it can contribute to stem rotting.
WEEDING IN BREADFRUIT FARMING
Employ labourers to do the weeding for you manually in other to reduce damages that could be done to the stems. Take away vines completely. If you are using herbicides you will have to be extra careful.
Intercrop with crops that can be harvested quick in the first 3 years after that intercrop with perennial crop such as pawpaw, banana etc.
Mulching can be done for the young seedlings when the farm is still very much expose to high intensity of sunlight.
PEST/DISEASES IN BREADFRUIT FARMING
Pest and diseases may not be found where there are good cultural practises such as allowing adequate air circulation and the use of a well-drained soil.
Breadfruits are not easily attacked by insects and pests. But the common pests that attacks them are mealy bug, pink hibiscus, white flies, snails and slug etc. They cause stunted growth and leaf distortion.
Their commonest diseases are Mildews and Botrytis. The effective control is to remove the host plants.
Moisture stress will result in wilting of leaves, yellowing of leaves, excessive leaf fall and stunted growth. Excessive soil moisture will result in root decay (death) resulting in the killing of young trees.
In breadfruit farming the seeds are harvested 2-3 months after flowers come out. And are either harvested manually by the use of hand or the use of sharp object example sickle. Pull the fruit from the tree with your hands or cut the tendrils with the sickle and put into a basket.
The fruit should be harvested when fresh and green. Don’t hit or rough handled them in other to avoid fruit abrasion. It can grow up to 81 feet or 26m. Breadfruit yields up to 200 fruit and above in a year.
Locate companies that make use of them and supply. Sell to market men and women. The seeds are valued most in Nigeria and are very costly in big cities like Port Harcourt, Lagos, Abuja etc.
Advertise your product online for a robust sales.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF BREADFRUIT
Good for cardiovascular health
It helps in reducing blood pressure in the body. Regulate heart rate by reducing the effect of sodium. Breadfruit is an excellent source of potassium, more than 10 bananas.
It resists infections
Breadfruit contains the proper amount of anti-oxidant that helps the body to develop resistance against infection.
Good energy source.; A cup of breadfruit will give 60g of carbohydrates, this is very good for sport lovers.
Aids digestion because of their fibre content. Prevents digestion related diseases such as ulcer, gastritis etc.
Rich in Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids that helps in the development of the mind and body as a whole.
Their flower helps in reducing toothache.
breadfruit prevent skin inflammation; produces collagen, cure skin infections, treats skin diseases. It nourishes the hair, treats dandruff, itching, stops hair breakage and promotes hair growth.
I read a post that says breadfruit does not have seed, well maybe there are such varieties. Could be one of the reasons people in import the seedlings from Germany. In Nigeria the seed is hot care because it is more valued. The small brown seed has groundnut flavour when roasted. It is eaten whole or processed into a paste for sauce.
The husk seed is good for the children rather than the unhusked ones in other to avoid obesity. The oil extracted from breadfruit seeds is a close substitute for palm kernel oil. It is edible and can also be used for soap making.
BREADFRUIT SEED PRESERVATION
To preserve breadfruit seed, soak them in water after 4 days, decant the water and add a new one, and keep repeating the process. The unpeeled seeds become smaller in quantity after peeling.
- Despite the varied uses of breakfruit to man; Research has shown that the food is gradually disappearing on our meal table.
- The more reason you should start breadfruit farming today. Africa as a continent should invest more into this sectore because of food security.