Many Vendors Depend on Taro Supplies from Samoa

If you can’t find taro at your local supermarket this weekend,  it’s because taro shipments from Samoa have been suspended due to unidentified diseases affecting taro crops across the water.

Director of Agriculture Filifaatali Mike Fuiava yesterday issued a notice that due to the disease he has decided to immediately suspend all imports of taro and taro shoots from Samoa until test results are received from Germany.

Samoa has sent samples of taro with the disease for testing in Germany.

According to reports from Apia, there are two viruses affecting taro crops…the mosaic virus and madna virus.

Agriculture authorities say when the taro root is uprooted it looks deformed and is not edible.

The diseases have been traced to plantations in Salani and Safata in Upolu.
The Ministry of Agriculture in April moved to ban the sending of taro shoots from Upolu to Savaii as a precaution to stopping the further spread of the disease.

American Samoa’s Chief Quarantine Officer, Elisapeta Sualevai, said that most of the stores in the territory get their supplies of taro from Samoa.

She says about 50 local stores depend on Samoa for their taro supplies.

And many others import taro for family consumption.

The suspension of taro imports from Samoa will mean no taro on tomorrow’s Lady Naomi.

A meeting will be held this morning with local farmers to discuss the suspension of taro and taro shoot imports from Samoa.

Sualevai said vendors who import taro from Samoa will also attend.

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