It’s the view of Agriculture Director Filifaatali Mike Fuiava that having a branch of the local Agriculture Department in Apia will help resolve problems in the importation of agricultural produce from Samoa.
Filifaatali says this is one of the issues that he will explore when he travels to Samoa as part of Governor Lolo Moliga’s delegation to the Pacific Islands Forum meeting that Samoa is hosting.
The Director of Agriculture says much of the problems that are occurring with agricultural and fisheries imports from Samoa stem from lack of understanding of regulations.
He feels having a branch of DOA in Samoa will help alleviate some of the problems .
The director says since he’s taken the Director of Agriculture seat, he’s told quarantine officials to use common sense when residents and visitors bring fish or other sea products without permits.
He said rather than confiscate the cargo, he’s advising officers to have individual travelers pay the fee for a permit and let them bring in their food stuff.
Filifaatali says he intends to meet with Samoa’s new Agriculture Minister and the CEO to discuss the current suspension on taro imports from Samoa.
Local taro farmers said at a meeting with the director last week that local taro production is not adequate to meet the demand.
While they support lifting the ban on taro imports they asked that DOA require importers to clean their taro just like they do for exports to New Zealand and Australia.
The Agriculture Director says he and a another member of the Governor’s delegation, Director of Commerce Keniseli Lafaele will look at the parcel of land in Vailima that the Samoa Government is leasing to the American Samoa Government in exchange for property for Samoa near the Office of Procurement in Tafuna.
Governor Lolo will be attending the Polynesian Leaders Group meeting which will be held Monday Samoa time and the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders meeting which opens the next day.
Acting Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Susan Thornton is leadomg a high-level U.S. government delegation to the 29th Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Session with Forum Dialogue Partners
(PIF FDP) on September 7.