Breadfruit for Improving Nutrition in Haiti

Project Update: Breadfruit for Improving Nutrition in Haiti

Breadfruit flour is carbohydrate-rich with long shelf life.

St. Joseph Clinic’s Breadfruit Project continues to grow and make progress in helping to combat malnutrition in Thomassique, Haiti. Breadfruit trees produce an edible carbohydrate-rich fruit that can be a source of good nutrition to help address the high levels of childhood malnutrition and food insecurity in Haiti.

Led by Head Agronomist, Wiscard-Kardin Lapaix, in 2020 the project produced over 47 bags of nutritious breadfruit flour that were distributed to families with children enrolled in the Clinic’s Childhood Malnutrition (Medika Mamba) Program. In addition to its significant health benefits, producing flour is advantageous because it is a not-easily-perishable food source with a long shelf life. Wiscard has also teamed up with Wilner Osse, Director of the Malnutrition Program, to educate the beneficiaries about the nutritional benefits of breadfruit.

Harvested breadfruit.

Over the past year, Wiscard worked with Haitian students in the work-study program to propagate more than 270 breadfruit trees, and distributed them to over 95 farmers in Thomassique and its five outlying villages. Wiscard worked closely with the Community Health Workers in each village to find the local farmers, screen their land, and conduct breadfruit education sessions.

We are very grateful for our continued partnership with Trees That Feed Foundation (TTFF). This year, the foundation purchased some breadfruit seedlings from the Clinic, and subsequently donated them back to the Clinic to help expand the initiative to include more eligible farmers in the region. More breadfruit seedlings are being propagated, which will be sold to TTFF and be distributed to local farmers and other organizations working in Haiti.

Trees That Feed Foundation has played an integral role in the Breadfruit Project since its very beginning, and continues to be a valued partner. The Clinic’s Breadfruit Project dates back to 2011, when Medical Missionaries Board Member Dr. Peter Dirr learned of Trees That Feed Foundation and its efforts to propagate more breadfruit trees in Haiti as a source of nutrition.

Breadfruit tree

In 2012, students from O’Connell High School went to St. Joseph Clinic with Dr. Dirr. They worked with the Thomassique Youth Group to plant breadfruit saplings that were provided by Trees That Feed Foundation. Many of those trees thrived, thanks to being nurtured by the youth group, and started to yield breadfruit.

Over subsequent years, Wiscard and work-study students have used the original trees to propagate more breadfruit saplings, distribute them to local farmers, and educate the local community about this important crop.

To everyone involved with the Breadfruit Project over the years, we say “mèsi anpil” (thank you very much)!