MAF and PHAMA Explore New Export Pathways

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Samoa’s Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access (PHAMA) Plus to boost value-adding of taro and establish new market pathways for taro exports from Samoa.

Under the MoU signed last Thursday, 14 May 2020, MAF and PHAMA Plus will work together to explore new markets for fresh and processed taro, while developing relevant standards for export compliance. The MoU complements efforts to increase production of disease-tolerant taro and exports of fresh taro from Samoa.

According to a press release, PHAMA Plus is supported by the Australian and New Zealand governments, and has been working with MAF since 2011 to grow Samoa’s export industry.

MAF CEO, Tilafono David Hunter, said the Ministry looked forward to its continued partnership with PHAMA Plus.

“The goal of this MoU is to support stakeholders to innovate and expand the range of value-added products and explore new markets for fresh and processed taro products. The activities detailed in the MoU supports our efforts to meet export requirements and will help us to better implement technical regulatory functions relating to taro exports,” said Mr Hunter.

PHAMA Plus National Facilitator in Samoa, Asuao Kirifi Pouono, said the agreement with MAF would help ensure compliance with the requirements by importing country, consistency in supply and quality of taro exports.

“PHAMA Plus offers a pool of technical expertise to support the implementation of activities identified in the MoU. Through the implementation of these activities, the program also seeks to facilitate market systems change to ensure that development initiatives are sustainable,” he said.

PHAMA works with the public and private sectors to promote Pacific exports of primary and value added produce by helping exporters to meet trading partners’ regulatory requirements and quality standards.

Some other notable collaborations by MAF and PHAMA Plus include:

• Assisting banana growers to recover from Tropical Cyclone Gita by supporting two consignments of banana meristems from South Africa;
• Improving the quality of processed cocoa beans through proper fermentation and the use of solar dryers;
• Improving taro production by providing new export varieties to taro growers; and
• Supporting surveillance and pest eradication to maintain a healthy bee population, and development of new apiaries to help revive the beekeeping industry in Samoa.