Banana exports breakthrough for Samoa
Apia, SAMOA — Samoa can officially begin exporting fresh banana and plantains to New Zealand again.
The breakthrough comes under a new export plan the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and New Zealand Ministry of Primary Industries have agreed upon.
The good news for banana farmers come after a long hiatus since Samoa stopped exporting fresh bananas to New Zealand because of issues concerning pests and diseases as well as inconsistencies with supplies.
This resulted in other Asian, Australian and South American countries stepping in to meet the demands of the New Zealand market.
In the past two years, the M.A.F. have been in discussions with the New Zealand Ministry of Primary Industries through its bilateral Quarantine Agreement meetings with an outcome that will see Samoa’s banana exports developing and growing again, but under strict import bio security requirements from New Zealand.
According to a press release from M.A.F, the New Zealand Ministry of Primary Industries will conduct audit visits of both pathways and will work closely with the M.A.F. as part of the Bilateral Quarantine Agreement within one and a half years of trade commencement. A formal signing of the export plan will take place during the next bilateral meeting.
Speaking to the Samoa Observer, C.E.O of M.A.F. Tilafono David Hunter said they expected the number of banana growers to increase given the market opportunity.
He also stressed that the nascent stages of this bilateral trade is crucial and their Ministry will work to ensure that they support banana growers to pursue their full potential.