Taro micro-propagation training to boost South Pacific clean seed supply
Thursday, 19 December 2013 07:08

Taro micro-propagation techniques developed and optimized by SPC's Centre for Pacific Crops and Trees (CePaCT) are being extended to industry members in Samoa as part of a joint effort to boost the supply of clean seed and enable a stronger South Pacific taro industry.

Recent training involved staff from the Crops Division of Samoa's Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF) tissue culture unit who were sponsored to attend a one-week sabbatical at CePaCT in Narere, Fiji. 

The training efforts are part of the Australian Centre for International Research (ACIAR) A Pacific Agribusiness Research for Development Initiative’s (PARDI) project to develop a clean seed system for market-ready taro cultivars in Samoa.

According to PARDI horticultural component leader, Shane Dullahide, training is important to MAF and to the region at large given Samoa has returned to pre-leaf blight conditions.

“Samoa is actively exporting taro every month and is a key player in the local industry. However, its capacity to be successful is limited by a shortage of readily-available clean planting material,” said Shane.

The recent training gave two industry representatives from Samoa insight into the temporary immersion bioreactor system that generates volumes of breadfruit planting material under the joint CePaCT/PARDI breadfruit project for Fiji. 

The week also incorporated handling tissue culture material in the screen house, taro gene banks, virus indexing of taro and field visits to the SPC Pacific Tree Seed Centre in Narere and the Koronivia tissue culture laboratory.   

Looking ahead, MAF Samoa may adopt an optimized multiplication system for selected taro breeding lines that are in short supply. New breeding lines will be mass-propagated for selected commercial farmers to sustain and boost the market export of taro.

For more information contact:
CePaCT - This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it : + 679 3370733
PARDI Communications – Julie Lloyd: M 0415 799 890.