New access for Taro to Australia – Samoa visit (September 2015)
Samoa is currently unable to export fresh taro to Australia due to the presence of Taro Leaf Blight (TLB). This report presents the recommendations of two New Zealand plant pathologists who visited Samoa to investigate the occurrence of TLB. They collected 54 pure cultures of the TLB pathogen Phytophthora colocasiae from 13 locations around Upolu. They also held discussions with the Samoan Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF) and other stakeholders during the visit to identify knowledge gaps and potential export pathways for TLB resistant varieties to Australia. The proposed next step is a collaborative TLB research project between MAF – which would contribute the technical expertise, supported by external plant pathology experts – and the Scientific Research Organisation of Samoa (SROS) – which would host the research in its laboratory, with the funding proposal for this proposed project to be developed jointly by participating scientists from both organisations.