Taro - in or out of trouble?
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CTA. 1997. Taro - in or out of trouble?. Spore 68. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/48668
Research workers at Western Samoa's Crop Protection Station at Nuu have isolated four strains of taro (Colocasia antiquorum) that are resistant to taro leaf blight. Taro, also known as cocoyam in Africa and eddoes and dasheen in theCaribbean, is the...
Research workers at Western Samoa's Crop Protection Station at Nuu have isolated four strains of taro (Colocasia antiquorum) that are resistant to taro leaf blight. Taro, also known as cocoyam in Africa and eddoes and dasheen in the Caribbean, is the main staple food of Western and American Samoa as well as Tonga. It has been a major export for Western Samoa, the produce going to Australia and New Zealand where the tuber is much in demand from the large resident Polynesian communities. Within months of taro leaf blight appearing in Western Samoa in 1993, the crop was effectively destroyed by the disease depriving the country of substantial export earnings and costing Western Samoa foreign exchange to import taro from neighbouring countries. A concerted screening of taro from many countries has yielded two tolerant varieties from the Philippines and two from the Federated States of Micronesia. They are of the talo munua and talo paepae varieties. Other varieties from Hawaii and India are still to undergo tests at Nuu and the Samoan research workers are also in contact with colleagues in Africa and the Caribbean about other possible species of taro found there. The Nuu researchers aim to breed a new variety of taro based on the locally popular but blight susceptible variety Niue crossed with imported tolerant strains. They hope to have new resistant taros on the market in 1997 and to win back 60% of their export market within five years. Other countries in the Pacific which have suffered severely from taro blight include Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. They have also had to contend with two additional pests, a taro beetle and a taro virus. These pest and disease outbreaks in the Pacific emphasize the need for continuing vigilance and quarantine when importing plant or animal products. Dr Semisi Semisi Asst. Director of Research Crop Protection Section Ministry of Agriculture Nuu WESTERN SAMOA