25 Oct 2012

Rules on providing vegetables to schools in American Samoa to be tighten

5:33 am on 25 October 2012

The Director of Agriculture in American Samoa is planning to tighten up rules on non-local growers who have been profiting from providing vegetables to the School Lunch Programme, but not paying taxes.

The department fully funds the school lunch programme, set up to provide free meals for students.

The director of Agriculture, Lealao Mel Purcell, says the programme is also supposed to help put money back into the economy by buying crops from local farmers.

However our correspondent, Monica Miller, says that while local growers provide taro and bananas, Lealao says about 40 Chinese farmers dominate the rest of the produce and they don't pay taxes.

"They've asked that the Chinese farmers, before their produce is accepted by the school lunch programme from now on, they have to bring in their sponsors, once their immigration sponsors are identified, then their cheques that are issued to them for their produce to the school lunch programme would be issued in the names of both the sponsor and the farmer."

Monica Miller says this means the local sponsor will be given the task of paying local taxes.