The ban imposed on taro exports from Samoa by the American Samoa government has been lifted.
This was confirmed by the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Lopao’o Natanielu Mua.
But allowing taro exports back into the territory comes with conditions.
They include contact details such as telephone and email addresses as well as assurances that the taro are thoroughly cleaned and meets American Samoa’s quarantine requirements.
American Samoa is also giving local exporters 15 days to obtain an improved permit from the territory prior to shipping.
And the Ministry of Agriculture has accepted the conditions, says Lopaoo.
“We agreed not only for the sake of local taro exporters but also in response to requests from American Samoa residents which have been bombarding my Office for Samoa to export taro to the territory as there supply is in critical levels. They are running out of taro and they need our help, ” said the Minister.
“If you recall, American Samoa unilaterally imposed the ban without official communication to our government.
“And despite that, as a responsible government we respected the band knowing very well that it will not impact taro market access to New Zealand and the United States. On that note, I am happy to say that American Samoa has removed the ban at their provocative,” he added.
The Minister added that to satisfy quarantine requirements, all the fresh taro exports bound for American Samoa will also be processed at the Atele Plant where Samoa’s frozen taro exports are also processed.
“It’s a huge ask for our exporters but it needs to be done.”
The Minister will be meeting with taro exporters and farmers next week to brief the stakeholders.