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July 09, 2012 12:00:00 AM
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Out of 1,050 breadfruit root suckers in the Nadi nursery, 60 per cent were destroyed in the March floods this year.

The planting materials were collected by Pacific Breadfruit Project (PBP) over the past 8 months where it was lost in a flood described in a statement to be the worst flood in the living memory.

“Of the 112 marcotts breeds that were in the nursery, approximately 75 per cent were lost,” said Pacific Breadfruit project activity leader Livai Tora.

Tora said this loss of valuable planting material has set back the scheduled orchard trials by 6 months.

In response to this disaster, the PBP team has relocated the nursery to a higher site and has also begun to source planting material from the Tutu Rural Training Centre (TRTC) on Taveuni.

The team will further breed 191 Bale Kana breadfruit root suckers in Taveuni to help replace those that were lost in the flood.

The partnership between TRTC and PBP also exists to train and involve the Tutu staff and young farmers in the emerging breadfruit industry.

Meanwhile, the recent floods have significantly impacted fresh produce export.

Tora said with rehabilitation activities well underway it is anticipated that eggplant exports will stabilize by August/September while papaya volumes will remain low until the early part of 2013.

By Ropate Valemei

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