Developing Exports of Samoan Taro to New Zealand

The occurrence of taro leaf blight (TLB) in 1993 effectively destroyed Samoa’s taro industry and reduced exports to zero for a number of years. Following an extensive period of research and development, Samoa has now produced a range of TLB-resistant taro varieties. Government has directed that taro exports be considered as part of the industry’s revitalisation. Intervening years have seen Fiji establish itself as the dominant taro exporter to New Zealand, with 95% market share.

Samoa is now looking to re-establish itself in the New Zealand market through the export of the newly released taro varieties. Samoa faces a considerable challenge in getting its new varieties back into the New Zealand market. In the course of researching both supply-side and demand-side aspects of the taro export trade from Samoa, a range of constraints have been identified which must be addressed before a full market launch is considered.

Key words: taro, taro leaf blight, export pathway, biosecurity

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