Taro ban frustrates Samoa Ag Minister

The Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Lopao’o Natanielu Mua, has accused the American Samoa government of dragging their feet in lifting the ban they placed on taro exports from Samoa.

Speaking to The Weekend Observer, Minister Lopao’o said he is puzzled by the behaviour of the American Samoa government – especially when some of their own residents have been asking Samoa to supply them with taro. 

According to the Minister, since the announcement of their intention to lift the ban, they have been trying to communicate with the relevant officials in the territory.

He said they had sent another letter during the holidays asking American Samoa to consider lifting its ban prior to March 2018, the schedule date they intend to lift the ban. 

“What’s puzzling is that American Samoa is only a small market compared to the bigger markets that we cater for such as Hawaii and Utah, and yet they are giving us the run around,” Lopao’o said. 

The ban by American Samoa was imposed last year.

In June 2017, American Samoa Director of Agriculture, Filifa’atali Mike Fuiava, said they were concerned by an unknown virus that broke out in Samoa affecting taro crops in Savai’i and Upolu.

He noted the need to take every precautionary measure to make sure this unknown virus would not enter American Samoa.

He said he did not want to experience another epidemic like the taro leaf blight of 1993-1994.

The D.O.A. director said lifting the suspension would depend on test results of taro samples affected by the disease, which were being sent to Germany.

Read more at Samoa Observer

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