In a world where hundreds of millions of people are malnourished, there can be no shortage of proposed solutions that should be considered. Perhaps the most interesting I have heard yet involves a relatively obscure tropical plant from the Pacific Islands. As NPR reports:
A traditional staple in Hawaii, breadfruit is sometimes called the tree potato, for its potato-like consistency when cooked. Except breadfruit has higher-quality protein and packs a healthy dose of vitamins and minerals.
That’s why Ragone has spent years trying to cultivate this nutrient-rich staple for poorer, tropical parts of the world, where the majority of the world’s hungriest people live.
Breadfruit offers several advantages over other staples, says [Diane] Ragone [of the National Tropical Botanical Garden’s Breadfruit Institute]. The fast-growing perennial trees require far less labor, fertilizer and pesticides than crops like rice and wheat. They’re also more productive. A single tree yields an average of 250 fruits a year and can feed a family for generations.
If mass produced, breadfruit could provide a steady source of nutritious food for farmers and their families, and supplement their incomes.