7 Jun 2017

American Samoa suspends import of Samoa taro and shoots

7:30 pm on 7 June 2017

The American Samoa Department of Agriculture has suspended importing of all taro and taro shoots from Samoa, effective immediately.

A Taro plant

A Taro plant Photo: RNZI/Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia

The director of agriculture Filifaatali Mike Fuiava said in a notice to the media today that he received information of an unknown virus breakout in Samoa affecting taro crops in the islands of Upolu and Savaii.

Reports from Samoa say that the disease is such that the taro shoot looks mature but when uprooted, the taro tuber itself has rotted away.

The director said he had to take every precautionary measure to make sure this unknown virus would not enter American Samoa.

Niuean Taro

Photo: Facebook

He said he did not want to experience another epidemic like the taro leaf blight of 1993-1994.

The DOA director said lifting the suspension would depend on test results of taro samples affected by the disease which were being sent to Germany.

The Samoa Ministry of Agriculture and Fishery in April issued a notice banning the sending of taro shoots from Upolu to the island of Savaii.

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