Vanuatu has hosted a regional meeting on taro, with scientists from the Pacific, Asia, Africa and Central America.
The meeting on Santo brought together 20 scientists from the International Network on Edible Aroids, who discussed threats to the crop, such as climate change.
The chair of the meeting, Dr Vincent Lebot, from the French research centre, CIRAD, base in Port Vila, says the group is looking at developing hybrids and varieties of taro to help farmers cope with drought and other threats such as leaf blight.
He says taro is a hardy crop that copes much better through cyclones than cassava.
"Not only is taro a very important crop for food security, it's also a very important cash crop either for the local market or for export. Taro is an excellent food."
Dr Vincent Lebot says they are not looking at genetically modified options, and the crop is another alternative to rice in Asian and African countries.