10 Sep 2012

American Samoa investigating blight resistant taro with exports in mind

1:40 pm on 10 September 2012

A blight-resistant taro could possibly be American Samoa's first export item if the Department of Agriculture is successful in experimenting with taro breeding.

A taro leaf blight in the 1990s devastated taro production in American Samoa and neighbouring Samoa.

Director Lealao Mel Purcell says taro breeding is one of the initiatives they're looking at to boost agricultural development.

The department has planted taro from Manu'a and will test its strength to withstand leaf blight.

They are comparing species with those from Samoa so they can determine the best to breed.

Lealao says they want to breed a taro species that is blight resistant and great to eat.