Developing cleaner export pathways for taro in Fiji and Samoa
Samoa and Fiji's Taro industry has undergone scrutiny as the taro exported has been labelled, as of poor quality and covered with pests. To address this problem, the Cleaner Pathway Project looks at improving the supply chain of taro and looking at hot water dipping as a phytosanitary treatment for mites and nematodes. To improve soil fertility, the leguminous plant, Mucuna was planted for six months before planting taro to test for the reduction of the soil's nematode level. During harvest, improved handling techniques and the use of crates to transfer corms from the farm to the pack house were trialled, replacing the usual sacks that were commonly used. Pack house standard have also been developed to ensure that taro is processed and packed to export needs. In addition, trials were conducted to determine a suitable post tailing and topping treatment to prevent fungal infections of corms. Hot water dipping of corms and planting materials were tested at different temperatures to determine mite and nematode mortality on corms and the viability of the planting materials. From the result of some of these trials, we have been able to observe better quality taro and a reduced mite and nematode presence on the corms. The Mucuna trials are currently underway and the taro plants are being monitored on a monthly basis. This project should be able to provide us with alternative ways to improve the taro supply chain and provide better quality taro consignments for export.
Buli, A., Lomavatu, M. and Ciri, M. 2015. Developing cleaner export pathways for taro in Fiji and Samoa. Acta Hort. (ISHS) 1105:301-306
taro, hot water dipping, market access, mites, nematodes