Ministry assauges taro fears

By Ilia L. Likou ,

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TARO MOVES: Taro sales at the Fugalei market.

TARO MOVES: Taro sales at the Fugalei market. (Photo: Measina Facebook)

The Ministry of Agriculture has assured the country that there’s nothing to worry about the new unknown virus found in taro to some parts of Upolu.

Speaking to the Samoa Observer, Plant Pathology Research Officer Taualai Mauga said that the Ministry is waiting on the results of the tests on the virus that has been sent to Germany.

“We have two viruses that are already in the country; the mosaic virus and badna virus.” Taualai said.

“But we are trying to look up the name of this virus...I mean this kind of virus comes and goes because of changes in the weather.

“So as we wait for the results of samples that have been sent off to Germany, the Ministry is now working closely with villages affected at Safata and Salani, Falealili.

“The fact is, we don’t just wait for the results but consultation and working together with affected areas in Samoa, is very important at this time.

He believes that early prevention is better than cure.

“We have put a ban on taro shoots (tiapula) between Upolu and Savai’i at this time while we are still trying to find ways to get rid of the virus.

“The ban is not only between the two islands, but also in nearby villages at the affected areas like Salani and Safata.

“All we can do at this time is work together for better results not only for Upolu but for Savai’i as well.

“As of today, we are still waiting on the test results that were sent to Germany and there are other samples that we just sent a few days ago.

“Hopefully we’ll get the results early next month then we’ll let everyone knows especially those in the affected areas.

“I mean, as I’ve mentioned before, preventative measures and awareness is very important.

The most recent epidemic of Taro Leaf Blight spanned the Samoan Archipelago from 1993-1994.

The Taro Leaf Blight epidemic of Samoa in 1993 is an example of extreme devastation that this virus can cause if preventative measures are not used to control spread and symptoms.

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