In the flavorful fiesta of Filipino cuisine, a new contender is making waves—breadfruit, or as locals affectionately call it, "rimas," "kamanzi," or "kolo." Once a hidden gem in the South Pacific Islands, this fruit is gaining attention as a potential substitute for rice, a game-changer for Filipino staple diets.
Department of Agrarian Reform Secretary Conrado M. Estrella III and Senator Cynthia Villar recently visited the South Pacific Islands and stumbled upon breadfruit. The fruit thrives in Cook, Hawaii, Palau, Samoa, and Marqueses.
But what makes breadfruit stand out? For starters, it’s not just about its delicious flavors or potato-like texture when mature; it’s about its nutritional value. Compared to rice, breadfruit is considered a good source of dietary fiber. It delivers five (5) times the fiber found in brown rice and a whopping sixteen (16) times the fiber in white rice.
Secretary Estrella believes introducing breadfruit in the Philippines could offer more than a versatile food option. It could also be a game changer for our diets.
He added that the Philippines shares a similar climate with these tropical islands, making breadfruit a feasible and cost-effective option for local cultivation. The DAR Secretary sees this as an opportunity to reduce our reliance on rice imports and enhance food security.
To bring this idea to reality, Estrella plans to introduce breadfruit to agrarian reform communities by establishing nursery farms for seedlings and demonstration farms to help interested farmers know more about this new crop.
So, why give breadfruit a chance? It’s not about replacing our beloved rice overnight but exploring a nutritious alternative that suits our climate and could contribute to a more resilient and diverse food landscape. Estrella’s vision of integrating breadfruit into local agriculture could mark a significant step towards a more sustainable and secure food future for the Philippines.
Photos from Senator Cynthia Vilar’s Facebook Page