14 Jun 2017

Bad weather could be cause of infected taro crops in Samoa

2:06 pm on 14 June 2017

The Ministry of Agriculture in Samoa says the weather may have brought about the virus which has hit taro production and led to American Samoa banning imports.

The chairman of Samoa's Farmers Association Afamasaga Toleafoa said the devastating virus breakout in the early 1990s was linked to the cyclones at the time.

Afamasaga Toleafoa said recently there had been a lot of rain linked to cyclones, which may have been behind the virus outbreak in the island of Upolu.

"It's a bit like the flu. They are determined by the weather. That at certain times maybe when there's a lot of water, a lot of rain, so the ministry are suggesting that the weather conditions may have had something to do with the flaring up of this particular virus, but they need to find out exactly what it is."

Imports of taro from Samoa to American Samoa has been suspended until test results of taro samples have returned from Germany.

Taro in Samoa not growing well because of drought.

Samoa taro. Photo: RNZI / Autagavaia Tipi Autagavaia