2 Jul 2009

Modified taro varieties in Hawaii raises concerns by farmers

11:13 am on 2 July 2009

Modified taro varieties in Hawaii is igniting farmers fears in Maui but researchers say they're trying to protect the crops from disease.

Native Hawaiian Lyn Scott told the Honolulu Star that she fears genetically modified taro could contaminate the Hawaiian taro grown by her family for generations in East Maui.

Ms Scott joins a number of native Hawaiians supporting a bill to ban the propagation of genetically modified taro in Maui County, including the Valley Isle, Molokai and Lanai.

The County Council's Economic Development, Agriculture and Recreation Committee deferred action on the bill this week, pending further review.

About 25 people have testified at public hearings with testimony on both sides of the issue.

If the bill passes Maui will be the second county in the state to approve an ordinance banning the raising of genetically engineered taro.

The Big Island passed a similar bill in November.