Banana growers including those who supply the School Lunch Program report that a new disease is affecting their plantations.
And according to the president of the American Samoa Farmer’ Co-Op, Moe Malaki, the disease is limiting the supply they are expected to provide for the School Lunch Program.
He says the bananas would just fall before they mature and are ready for harvesting.
Malaki suspects that the problem may be a result of the cooler weather we’re experiencing or tuaoloa winds as traditional weather experts call them.
One of the features of the tuaoloa season is that people usually the elderly are weak and experience illness while animals are at their strongest.
Malaki explains the banana disease they’re seeing now usually happens in January and February and again in October.
Before the banana fruits have fully matured, the banana tree would just drop.
Farmers were hit just before school finished.
Malaki said the timing was fortuitous and they would not have been able to supply the quantities of banana needed by the School Lunch Program if it happened during the school year.
The Farmers Co-op is monitoring the frequency of the disease.
Makaki says the School Lunch Program and the Department of Agriculture are aware of the problem.