Samoa Overcomes Stringent Biosecurity Measures Imposed by NZ and Australia on Breadfruit

Frozen, umu baked ‘ulu packed for Australia

06 September 2019, Apia Samoa. The stringent biosecurity measures imposed by Australia and New Zealand on fresh produce such as Samoa’s breadfruit or ‘ulu has been overcome by the SROS Food Science & Technology team.

The Scientific Research Organisation of Samoa began its technical research in 2015 and after successful trials, slices of uncooked breadfruit have since been exported along with taro, banana and yams through collaboration with Tradition Farmers & Growers (Su’a Tanielu Su’a) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF).

Fresh or even baked breadfruit (‘ulu) through personal consignment from Samoa has been banned by New Zealand and Australia for more than five years.

This week SROS Scientist Tuimaseve Kuinimeri Finau and her Food Science team have announced a new collaboration with Su’as Traditional Growers & Farmers. This time, to ship frozen, umu-baked ‘ulu to Australia.

“This is as an additional new product via sea freight as the more economical route for exporting frozen crops,” reads the press release.

“Products have been prepared since the beginning of the fruiting season, packed and labelled for Su’a to include in his next shipment scheduled to sail on the 7th of this month”.

The first shipment comes after several air-freighted consignments of baked, frozen breadfruit were sent by SROS on a trial basis to test the pathway and to gauge feedback from target markets.

In May this year the SROS collaborated with Event Polynesia Ltd and Oasis Resources Ltd, both of Auckland New Zealand to export 243 packs of frozen umu-baked Maopo and Puou, air freighted to NZ.

SROS say the produce was distributed to more than 200 Samoans who completed a survey conducted by Teleiai Puni of Event Polynesia and his team.

“Feedback received was overwhelmingly positive with many consumers wanting a regular supply of the product due to its taste and convenience, as it only needs to be microwaved.

It is anticipated that through these small trials the exporters of frozen crops will see the opportunity in adding frozen, umu-baked ‘ulu to their line of products.

The frozen option is an alternative for sending personal consignments of baked ulu to New Zealand and Australia for Samoan families and friends to enjoy.