Samoa needs to capitalise on the United States market. And American Samoa provides a window for that to happen.
This is the opinion of the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, La’auli Leuatea Polataivao.
“We have a lot of offer for American Samoa and the U.S. markets, and we need American Samoa to do that,” he told the Samoa Observer.
“They are our gateway through to the United States and while we have submitted applications directly to the federal agencies, we still need to maintain the relationship with American Samoa as they are the ones that will open the door."
“Their recommendations will make it easy for us.”
The Minister made the comment in response to questions from the Samoa Observer at the end of his meetings with American Samoa Government (ASG) officials as part of the Inter Samoa Talks.
According to the Minister, they are “steps away” from exporting Samoa’s meat back to Pago Pago.
“Regarding our meat, the American Samoa Government during the initial negotiation suggested that we file our application with the U.S.D.A (United States Department of Agriculture) and we did. The process is lengthy."
“We have to go through seven Federal agencies in order to complete the requirements process and then we wait for the final decision."
“However during our meeting over the weekend I was informed that American Samoa has the discretion to allow meat into their country.”
He said that is good news and Samoa has so much to offer when it comes to meat.
The Minister pointed out that Samoa used to export meat over to Pago, dating back to 1989 but with the tragedy of the 9/11 (2011), the door was closed for foreign countries to export anything to U.S. territories and U.S.A. markets.
To move the planning forward, the Minister said a delegation headed by Governor Lolo Matalasi Moliga would be in Samoa next month with a representative from U.S.D.A to inspect Samoa’s facilities, machines, equipment and how things are done in Samoa.
“This is the opportunity to showcase what we have to offer, and its not just our meat, we have our frozen taro, fresh taro, fish, our own oil products and so much more.”
La’auli said they are looking at exporting frozen taro to the U.S. and they will go directly to several states where there is a large population of Samoans.
This covers Utah, Alaska, Hawaii and California.
“But that can be done once the U.S.D.A allows the importation of our produces so once American Samoa allows our meat, then this is the next step.”
He said that their promotional trip will be sometime next year.
He also told Samoa Observer that next month they would be sending their container of frozen taro to New Zealand.
“Frozen taro’s freshness span is up to six months and we want New Zealand to have a taste of Samoa’s taro, as Australian residents have given awesome feedback on the frozen taros that was sent to them earlier this year.”