Taro ban

Samoa to lift ban on exporting taro to neighbour

Lopaoo said Samoa had achieved remarkable results in negotiations with their American Samoan counterparts which would lead to the resumption of exports to the territory.

He said his Ministry had been dealing with the matter alongside staff from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Samoa's Deputy Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata'afa also met with Governor Lolo Moliga during her Flag Day visit.

Governor Lolo then wrote to Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi encouraging Samoa to lift the ban.

Taro squabble in the Samoas continues

It followed last year's suspension on imports imposed by American Samoa out of fears the neighbour's taro could carry a virus.

The Samoa Minister of Agriculture Lopao'o Natanielu Mu'a advised Filifaatali of the ban which was in response to more stringent conditions required by American Samoa for taro imports.

Lopao'o was concerned at the new requirement that American Samoa inspectors would first inspect plantations of taro exporters to the territory.



Samoa questions American Samoa's continued taro ban

The chief executive of Samoa's Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries said the taro virus that caused the ban has been found in crops from American Samoa.

Tilafono David Hunter said the ministry had a copy of test results from Hawai'i on the American Samoa taro which proved they had the same virus.

The two Samoas held talks in Apia last December and it was agreed a decision on lifting the ban would be made by March this year.

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.