Samoa moving forward on their own to start USDA certification process
Apia, SAMOA —The Samoa Government has moved forward on their own with their application to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) enabling the export of meat and meat products to American Samoa. This is according to Samoa’s Government newspaper Savali this week. Savall reports that it’s been ten years since Samoa’s Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, (MAF) has been waiting for the American Samoa Government and they will wait no more.
“After more than 10 years of tolerating their excuses, Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Laaulialemalietoa Leuatea Polataivao Fosi Schmidt has authorized his people to directly engage the United States Department of Agriculture, (USDA) in starting the certification process for local Samoan meat to be exported into the USA,” says the Savali report.
During the joint Samoa Economic Integration Initiative (the “Economic Initiative”) between the two Samoa a part of the Samoa Talks this year, the issue regarding the USDA application for the Samoa Government, was discussed whereas the American Samoa Department of Agriculture and Department of Commerce said they have been following up with the status of the application.
As reported earlier, Samoa Ministry of Agriculture confirmed that a letter from the US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Services (APHIS) was received May 26, 2016, providing a way forward for Samoa to accelerate the process. Further the statement of the inter Samoa talks said that American Samoa will continue to assist Samoa with its efforts to acquire USDA approval.
However Samoa’s Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, (MAF) is not waiting on American Samoa any more.
“With all respect, American Samoa does not hold the key to open up this crucial market for our livestock farmers,” Laaulialemalietoa said. “It’s the USDA that holds the fate of our meat exports. To that extend, our officials have submitted the documentation to our US counterparts to start the certification process rolling.
“I am fully aware of the strict US Food and Drug Administration regulations for our Samoan meat to become fully certified exports to the US,” noted the Agriculture Minister.
“But it’s been more than ten years and the buck stops here taking into account the millions of dollars invested by government with the help of our development partners, the World Bank to procure and invest in abattoirs to meet international export standards.
“We have already engaged our trading partners in New Zealand and Australia. But the immediate target is neighboring American Samoa,” said the Agriculture Minister. Using American Samoa as a doorway to the lucrative US Market is the ultimate objective. The goal is for Samoa’s meat products to be certified to meet USDA standards,” according to the Savali report.