Proposed taro ban ‘detrimental’ –Central Bank of Samoa


Wed 18 Dec 2013

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APIA, Samoa --- Any ban placed on Samoan talo would be detrimental to our limited export base, the Central Bank of Samoa says.

This warning comes in the wake of a proposed ban being looked at by American Samoa against Samoan talo, in a bid to protect their local growers.

“Any ban to current commodities exported is detrimental to our limited export base,” said CBS Chief Manager of the Monetary Stability Group, Benjamin Pereira, in an email.

“Based on taro export data that CBS collects, American Samoa has receipted on an annual average, from 2000 to 2012, just above SAT$900,000.00 (US$383,000).

Taro export are on 2000-2012 averages equivalent to 2.2 per cent of total annual exports, he said.

“American Samoa is currently our biggest market for taro export however, since the improvement in domestic supply of taro and the beginning of exporting again to New Zealand in 2010, the New Zealand market has significantly gained its market share.

He described this as “encouraging,” adding, “Efforts to improve exports of other commodities are also encouraging.”

Meanwhile Tautua Samoa leader, Palusalue Fa’apo II said the proposed ban could pave the way to more export bans.

Last week it was reported that American Samoa is working on a proposed ban of Samoan taro with their Attorney General.

This happened just two weeks after Samoa’s Small Business Enterprise Centre and American Samoa’s Chamber of Commerce signed a Memorandum of Understanding to develop each nation’s economy.

According to the SBEC the Trade Fair was aimed at showcasing small businesses to the Samoan public as well as seeking trade opportunities to supply local retailers, hotels and restaurants and opportunities to export to American Samoa.

Palusalue said it saddened him to read this proposal in the newspaper, as the very reason for the Fair was to strengthen trade between the two Samoas.

“But now this news has come up it is really sad for our taro exporters,” he said.

“Who knows their next move might be stopping the vegetables and so forth.

“It is fine for the Government to address the issue when they meet in their high level talks with the leaders of American Samoa, it is all they are doing.

“They said they want to work together but the way things are going it is not working together they are competing with each other.”

He said with so much going on in the world of trade – with free trade talks between the Pacific, Australia and New Zealand and high level talks with the World Trade Organisation, the proposed taro ban would only add a burden to farmers.

“If you go to the market now, it is overflowing with taro we need exports and we need the exports to American Samoa to help our farmers here,” he said.

“The taro is not enough in terms of exporting them.

“I believe through these talks the government should address the issue.”

He said despite American Samoa wanting to protect their local growers, he believes the quality of their taro is not up to the same standard as Samoa.

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