Sago 'heart of palm' can now be phased out by the introdcution of Peach Palm
Over 200 sago palms are felled each week to supply the local heart of palm market. But the Fiji Sago Palm is now severly threatened by unrestricted harvesting and felling not just for palm heart, but for thatching by the tourist industry. The Fiji Sago Palm is essentially restricted to the province of Serua and there are no more than six viable stands surviving.
NFMV has identified the Peach Palm as the most suitable substitute for "Heart of Palm" or "Millionaire's Salad",it is grown commercially for this purpose in Hawaii and Central America. With Biosecurity Clearance obtained, NFMV have imported 3,000 seeds and will grow out a seed orchard and a commercial stand on their land in the Sigatoka Valley. As soon as seeds are available they will be made available to other farmers and to existing suppliers of Sago Palm heart.
The Peach Palm is an ideal species for commercial 'heart of palm' cultivation because it is a clumping palm with several stems, so that as one stem is harvested, another is growing in its place for future harvest. Sago, apart from being a severely threatened species, has a single trunk and so harvesting is a permanent loss.