MAF partners with PHAMA Plus to address taro shortage in Samoa

From Left Samoa’s Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Laaulialemalietoa Leuatea Polataivao Fosi Schmidt, and PHAMA Plus Country Manager, Kuinimeri Finau during the official signing of the MOU.


The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF) has signed a new partnership with the Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access Plus (PHAMA Plus) Program to address the reduction in supply of taro in Samoa.

A Memorandum of Understanding, signed by Samoa’s Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Honourable Laaulialemalietoa Leuatea Polataivao Fosi Schmidt, and PHAMA Plus, will see over 500,000 high-quality taro planting material known as tiapula distributed to 100 target commercial growers who supply exporters.

“This new partnership will support MAF’s efforts to assist Samoa’s taro growers and businesses address the shortage of taro with an immediate solution of tiapula distribution. Our continued partnership with Australia and New Zealand’s PHAMA Plus Program to establish more commercial nurseries, not just for taro but other root crops too, provides a long-term and more sustainable solution,” said Honorable Schmidt.

PHAMA Plus is supported by the Australian and New Zealand governments and has been working with MAF since 2011 to grow Samoa’s export industry. In 2023, MAF and PHAMA Plus partnered to establish commercial nurseries to make improved taro planting material more readily available to farmers.

“Four nurseries were established, with two located on MAF stations and two with private farmer groups. There is strong demand for their planting materials, but more is needed to address the shortage of taro at an industry level,” said PHAMA Plus Country Manager Kuinimeri Finau.

It is expected that after a year, the target commercial growers and nurseries will have enough stock to supply themselves as well as local markets and exporters in Samoa.

Over the past decade, Samoa has witnessed a decline in land used for taro cultivation, despite an increase in the number of taro farmers. While many commercial farmers cultivate 20 acres or more for the export market, only a fraction of registered exporters are currently active due to the scarcity of taro planting materials.

The opportunity for Samoan root crops is supported by the increasing demand from the Samoan diaspora in New Zealand, USA and Australia, and a parallel commitment by the Samoan Government and farmers to revive its taro industry.



For more information, please contact Country Manager – Samoa, Kuinimeri Finau on

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