9 Jul 2010

Quarantine officials clear Samoa taro shipment

5:56 pm on 9 July 2010

New Zealand Quarantine officials have cleared a commercial shipment of taro from Samoa for the first time in nearly 20 years.

MAF Biosecurity spokesperson Annie Wright says 150 bags of taro, or 3.1 tonnes, have arrived in the country.

Samoa used to supply about 90% of New Zealand's taro market but blight wiped out crops on the island in the early 1990s and production has only now recovered sufficiently to allow export again.

A Samoan farmers' group says the shipment to New Zealand represents a huge opportunity for Samoan growers, as the market here could be worth about $10 million a year to them.

Afamasaga Toleafoa says a lot of work has gone into finding varieties that are resistant to blight and meet the demand of consumers.