Samoa to lift ban on exporting taro to neighbour

Taro in Samoa. Picture: RNZ

Samoa is lifting its ban on taro exports to American Samoa next week, according to Minister of Agriculture Lopaoo Natanielu Mu’a, who imposed the temporary ban in late February.

Lopaoo said Samoa had achieved remarkable results in negotiations with their American Samoan counterparts which would lead to the resumption of exports to the territory.
He said his Ministry had been dealing with the matter alongside staff from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Samoa’s Deputy Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata’afa also met with Governor Lolo Moliga during her Flag Day visit.

Governor Lolo then wrote to Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi encouraging Samoa to lift the ban.

Minister Lopaoo said both countries came to an accommodation of each other’s concerns and exports of taro would restart next week once all issues are confirmed and reciprocated in a written form.

During the ban, the local Department of Agriculture was still issuing permits for taro from Samoa to local residents for personal consumption however the Samoa authorities did not allow any taro shipments through.

The only exceptions were traveling groups from Samoa during Flag day week.

The resumption of taro exports form Samoa comes as the territory is almost running out of crops because of the impact of Tropical Cyclone Gita in February.

A number of bans have been in place in recent times due to concerns over an unidentified disease affecting crops in some parts of Samoa’s Upolou

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