The ban on taro from Samoa remains.
Director of Agriculture Filifa’atali Mike Fuiava told a House hearing yesterday the Samoa Ministry of Agriculture has still not received test results from Germany,
And until Samoa provides him with an analysis of samples sent to Germany, the ban on taro from Samoa will continue.
Filifa’atali testified before the House Agriculture Committee on the ban on taro from Samoa.
Representatives pointed out its been about 2 months since the Department of Agriculture alerted the public about the new taro disease reported from Samoa but we still haven’t received test results to determine if its a virus or a pest disease.
Filifa’atali said that if the Samoa government, provides an analysis of the test results sent to Germany, DOA will make a trip to Apia to see the problem for themselves .
Meanwhile, Agriculture inspectors have been visiting taro plantations around the island including those suspected to suffer from the same disease that’s affecting taro in Samoa.
The Director told the House that they are doing their work of collecting data but cannot at this time confirm if local taro crops are affected by a virus.
Until the test results are received, the ban on taro from Samoa will remain.
Entomologist at the Land Grant division of ASCC, Dr. Mark Schmaedick says that it’s hard right now to make a determination on what’s happening with the taro disease until test results are received from Samoa from the Samoa Government are received.
He said they are only receiving second hand information about the diseases but nothing solid.
Dr. Schmaedick stressed the significant role of the Department of Agriculture in protecting the environment and soils from diseases that may be introduced via the importation of agricultural produce.
He said that there’s always a great risk with the importation of plant materials and he’s grateful for Director Filifaatali’s immediate action to ban taro from Samoa.