St Lucian breadfruit is a highly valued commodity on the international market. However, St Lucian exporters and farmers have long been encountering problems where their shipments of fresh produce were being refused at ports of entry, due to spoilage and over-ripening.
Export St Lucia, under the Taste of St Lucia branding, is aiming to improve the quality of breadfruit destined for international markets. To this end, the agency enlisted the help of CARDI to develop guidelines that can be uniformly used by current and prospective exporters to improve the quality of the exported produce. Export St Lucia is cognizant of the untapped commercial potential of this superfood and is seeking to increase the market share of the St Lucian breadfruit.
A survey was one of the first activities conducted amongst exporters to assess their knowledge of breadfruit and postharvest practices. The results showed clear knowledge gaps existed, which may have accounted for the high losses exporters suffered.
CARDI, together with Export St Lucia, produced a full-length instructional video in English and Creole detailing the best practices for harvesting and post-harvest handling and treatment and packaging of breadfruit. The goal is to prolong the shelf life of breadfruit, ensuring it arrives at its destination in its freshest state. The guidelines address maturity indices, the timing of harvesting, the importance of reducing the field heat of fruits and a step by step walkthrough of the post-harvest treatment and packaging procedures.
Apart from the video, the guidelines were presented to farmers and exporters at a virtual webinar last November. The full length video can be viewed @ https://bit.ly/3o6mm1H
The guidelines produced will be used by Export St Lucia for the marketing and promotion of breadfruit.