18 Jun 2008

American Samoan task force to probe food price hikes

1:39 pm on 18 June 2008

The American Samoa governor, Togiola Tulafono, has set up a task force to investigate what factors have contributed to the high cost of food in the territory.

The task force is to see if the rise is due to the increased cost of fuel, shipping or to charges by shop owners.

If any violation is found, Togiola wants local statutes to be used against any merchant if a complaint is filed in court.

Togiola says he is also asking the task force to review provisions of the 2006 price gouging law, which might be applied.

The price gouging statute is intended to curb the sudden increase of prices before and after a disaster strikes.

Meanwhile, the governor has called on farmers to make sure there is enough local produce such as taros and bananas because of a shortage in rice.