Samoa taro ban

Samoa taro ban in American Samoa lifted

Samoa Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi said he received a letter from American Samoa authorities informing him the ban, which started over concerns about a taro virus, was being lifted.

However, Tuilaepa said concerns were also raised over the dirty condition of taro arriving in the territory.

He has called on the Ministry of Agriculture and shipping corporations to check shipments before export to make sure the crops are fully cleaned and safe as well as meeting the quarantine requirements.

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. 

American Samoa suspends import of Samoa taro and shoots

The director of agriculture Filifaatali Mike Fuiava said in a notice to the media today that he received information of an unknown virus breakout in Samoa affecting taro crops in the islands of Upolu and Savaii.

According to RNZI, reports from Samoa say that the disease is such that the taro shoot looks mature but when uprooted, the taro tuber itself has rotted away.

The director said he had to take every precautionary measure to make sure this unknown virus would not enter American Samoa.

Bio-security officers haul of banned taro from Samoa

Bio-security director Ngatoko Ta Ngatoko says taro from Samoa poses a huge risk for the Cook Islands’ taro crops, and to find it on the ship was ‘very alarming’. 

He says Samoan taro could introduce leaf blight diseases to the Cook Islands endangering a staple crop which is grown throughout the country.

The disease is considered one of the worst in the world for taro, as it attacks the entire taro family including taro, kape and taro tarua.