7 Nov 2012

Ban hits some American Samoa farmers

5:36 pm on 7 November 2012

Some non-local farmers in American Samoa have been banned from supplying vegetables to schools.

This follows a Department of Agriculture crackdown on Asian farmers who have been selling produce to the federally funded School Lunch Programme.

The Director of Agriculture, Lealao Mel Purcell, says the main concern is the chemicals he suspects the farmers to be using on the plants.

He says the department hasn't told schools to stop buying from Asian farmers, but some have been stopped from supplying.

"Some not necessarily because of the chemicals but because of the illegalities of their status here in American Samoa, we've banned I think about three farmers from bringing in their produce until they can get paper work complete and their vendor numbers established so that they are able to pay their taxes and do other things that is within the legal ramification of all these things that we do."

Lealao Mel Purcell says all he is asking is that the farmers live by the letter of the law in American Samoa.