by Marie Kauna – EMTV Online, Port Moresby
During the annual Samoa Agriculture Show, the Pacific island nation has launched three new taro varieties since its taro disease disaster in 1993.
The new taro varieties are Talo Tanu, Talo Fusi and Talo Lani and were selected from Tanumalala Fusi and Salani villages after consultation between farmers.
Samoa’s Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF), and the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), has used a participatory approach to select the taros, based on the varieties in terms of their taste and their yield.
The selection and the release of the three new taro varieties is part of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research Pacific Agricultural Research Development Initiative Project.
The project, according to SPC’s Genetic Resource Coordinator, Valerie Saena-Tuia, identifies and develops “a clean seed system for market ready taro cultivars in Samoa led by SPC’s Land Resources Division in collaboration with MAF, the Scientific Research Organisation of Samoa, farmers and exporters”.
With demanding increase in its exports of taro to New Zealand and the United States of America, these new varieties will boost Samoa’s taro export, a further increase from what it is presently exporting.