12 May 2017

Potential hurdle for Samoa taro crop recovery

6:26 pm on 12 May 2017
A Taro plant

A Taro plant Photo: RNZI/Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia

A hiccup has emerged for Samoa's taro crop recovery from leaf blight fungus with a new unknown virus found in seedlings.

But farmers are being assured they have nothing to worry about.

A ban has been put on the transporting of taro shoots from Upolu to Savai'i while the crop division of the Ministry of Agriculture investigates plantations affected at Falealili and Safata Districts on Upolu.

A senior taro breeding officer of the Pacific Community based in Samoa, Tolo Iosefa, said samples of the virus have been sent to Germany for testing.

But he said he didn't believe it would have a negative impact on the industry.

"Even if it is known from the first that it is a new strain or a virus, I don't see it as a problem," said Mr Iosefa.

"Taro production is now coming back. We are now flooding the market with taros. Taro is everywhere; and also exports. We are now exporting taro."