Puou, one of the many varieties of breadfruit found in Samoa
BY Lagi Keresoma
APIA, SAMOA – MONDAY 17 OCTOBER 2016: Various breadfruit species from Samoa will be researched and reproduced in the United States to counter hunger around the world.
This has been strengthened when Prime Minister Tuilaepa Lupesoliai Sailele Malielegaoi and the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries, La’aulialemalietoa Leuatea Polataivao signed a Memorandum of Understanding with a group of American researchers last week.
The MOU binds both countries to keep their end of the deal with Samoa providing a variety of breadfruits and the Americans to pay royalties to Samoa.
Prime Minister Tuilaepa said Samoa has a lot of a varieties of breadfruits compared to other countries who may have only 1 or 2.
“These breadfruits will be replanted or reproduced in America then distributed to countries in Africa,” said Tuilaepa.
Minister La’auli believes that Samoa is not the only country that would benefit from this undertaking.
Besides breadfruits, America has markets for other Samoan produce such as taro, yams and manioka.
La’auli also spoke on the recent opportunity to export frozen breadfruits to Australia after negotiations with the Australian government.
He said once they realized the opportunity, he and his delegation returned to Samoa and did consultation with farmers, and the end result was a container of frozen breadfruit currently being prepared for Australia to leave Samoa at the end of the month.
Breadfruits are being bought from farmers in Fasito’o, Toamua, Aleisa and the Ministry is in the process of preparing the container.
As for the cost of one container of frozen breadfruits, La’auli said that was the prerogative of the exporter.
“The Ministry’s role is the government to government level to negotiate and monitor the quality assurance and standards control, but for costing and pricing, that is the prerogative of the private sector and exporters,” said La’auli.
There is also an interest in the Samoan flour made from breadfruit.
La’auli said a special oven to produce flour from breadfruit will arrive in November 2016, and he hopes by then, the breadfruit season continues to bear fruits.
“We have already consulted with manufacturers to buy the Samoan made flour,” he said.
The manufacturers are the same people that have offered to provide the oven, and although that Samoa offers the biggest variety of breadfruits, the manufacturers have specifically asked for the ma’afala specie which is considered of the best quality.
Australia and New Zealand stringent quarantine policies for Samoan produce
Samoan breadfruit is currently banned from entering New Zealand due to fears of the fruit fly entering that market.
At the NZ/Samoa Trade & Investment Business Mission to Samoa that opened today, the issue of breadfruit was addressed by various speakers.
Samoa’s Trade Commissioner to New Zealand, Fonoti Dr. Lafitai Fuatai said both New Zealand and Australia have stringent quarantine policies than America.
“Even if it’s cooked, they (NZ & Australia) will still not accept it. That is why we created a standard method to have the breadfruits cooked at a special oven at the Ah Liki Company,” he explained.
New Zealand based Samoan business man Anae Afa Anae said it is “crucial to find solutions and ways for the Pacific people to export their produce.”
“It is difficult for the Pacific to export to New Zealand, yet they allow the Philippine mangoes into NZ, and bananas from all over the world, and they block us,” said Anae.
The technical advisor for the Samoa Association of Manufacturers and Exporters Inc. (SAME) Colin Stringer said SAME continues to raise the breadfruit issue at every opportunity they get.
He said the Samoan breadfruit is ranked the best in the recent research by a Hawai’i University.
His comment prompted other business people to use the Hawaiian University findings to launch another petition to the New Zealand authorities.