American Samoa

Taro exports to US in offering for American Samoa

The Director of Agriculture Filifaatali Mike Fuiava has been at a meeting of the Western US Agricultural Trade Association which offered to help American Samoa send produce like taro to the US.

Filifaatali said the plan was to start on a taro planting campaign in January.

He estimated the taro should be ready for harvesting by July next year.

The director hoped to present the department's plans to farmers and lay the ground work in the coming months.

Fish shortages force American Samoa cannery shut down

Our correspondent in Pago Pago said it remained unclear when the next vessel would call into the port with more supplies.

In October last year the cannery shut down for just over a week, also because of a shortage of fish.

The US-based StarKist Company said it realised the shutdown was a disruption for workers and the community and it had called for understanding.

StarKist had been trying to secure land for storing frozen fish.

 

Photo: Supplied

Reinforcements for American Samoa anti-drug unit

Police Commissioner Le'i Sonny Thompson said the new unit would play a major role in ridding the territory of its growing drug problem.

Le'i said members of the unit would also work in the newly established Tactical Response Team as well as the Governor's Task Force on Domestic Security.

But he said their ultimate goal was to eliminate the plague of illegal drugs within the community, workplaces and schools.

Lei also called on all police officers in the territory to support inter-agency collaboration and intelligence sharing among regional law enforcement partners.

American Samoa to launch online visas

Talauega Eleasalo Ale told the territory's Visitors Bureau this week the online platform will allow travel agents and visitors to obtain entry permits through a more convenient and timely process.

A statement from the Visitors Bureau said the attorney general had committed to periodic meetings with travel and airline agents to streamline the entry process as a way of driving visitor traffic and supporting local industry.

 

Photo: RNZ/ Monica Miller Caption: Auditor General of American Samoa Talauega Eleasalo Ale. 

Governor's power of veto could be changed in American Samoa

Senators Tuaoloa Fruean and Nuanuaolefeagaiga Saoluaga Nua sponsored a legislative veto override measure, which had been voted down in previous elections.

If approved, a bill that is vetoed by the governor will still be able to pass if it is supported by a two-thirds majority in the House and Senate.

Currently, if a governor vetoes a bill it is sent back to the Fono to be repassed by each chamber before going back to the governor, who can send it to the United States' interior secretary for a final decision.

The secretary can either approve or kill it.

Taro ban, ‘a diplomacy issue’ -MAF Minister

Territorial officials had unilaterally imposed the ban 10-weeks ago after picking up reports on the social media claiming that a taro epidemic with similar drastic impacts as the taro plight or lega in Samoa was infiltrating local taro.

Taro samples from the alleged infected varieties sent Germany have found no such danger, says the Minister in an exclusive interview with this publication and TV1’s Tala Fou.

Laaulialemalietoa added that the test results reaffirm that the peculiar looking colors on the taro are normal and it has been around. 

New hospital on the cards in American Samoa

The executive director of the territory's only medical facility, LBJ hospital, is Taufete'e John Faumuina.

He told a US House subcommittee about the challenges faced by the centre, which is currently operating under a $US50 million budget.

Taufete'e said LBJ needed to address a number of issues and also offer better salaries to recruit doctors, nurses and other staff.

He said the hospital struggled acquire new equipment and to maintain its facilities, which were built in 1968.

2-Samoa talks scheduled for October in Apia

The meeting will be hosted by Samoa in Apia in early October.

A release from the Ministry of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (MPMC) said the talks were scheduled for early next month.

However, American Samoa had communicated to Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi requesting to postpone the meeting to October to allow the territorial government to finalise issues from their end to be tabled in the upcoming meeting.

As one of the three central government agencies, the MPMC is tasked as the implementing agency to organise the event.

Ban on taro from Samoa remains

The territory's director of agriculture, Filifa'atali Mike Fuiava, told a hearing in the Fono that the Samoa Ministry of Agriculture had still not received test results from Germany from samples of plants that had been infected with an unidentified disease.

Filifa'atali said until Samoa provided an analysis of the samples sent to Germany, the ban on taro would continue.

He said if an analysis was not forthcoming from the Samoa government then his officials would make a trip to see the problem for themselves.

American Samoa struggles with Samoa taro

The American Samoa director of agriculture, Filifa'atali Mike Fuiava, imposed the ban the week before last, pending tests to determine the disease causing mature taro to be deformed and inedible.

Meanwhile most stores and restaurants in the territory that used to rely on taro from Samoa, are being supplied by local farmers.

However one of the oldest stores on the western side of the island which has been getting taro from Apia has not sold taro since the ban was imposed.