BATTLE AGAINST PACIFIC TARO DISEASES IS BEING WON

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SUVA, Fiji Islands (May 8, 2002 – Radio Australia)---In Fiji, a research project with the goal of eradicating diseases that affect the growth of the Pacific delicacy taro, has been hailed a success.

The Secretariat of the Pacific Community has reported that the disease has had very little impact on Fiji.

Radio Australia correspondent Ofa Kaukimoce reports.

"The 2001 annual report of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community noted that the infestation of the taro leaf blight and the taro beetle have affected sustained food security in the domestic markets of Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Vanuatu.

"According to the SPC, committed work with national partners, implementation of innovative approaches and the establishment of a regional geoplasm center, have contributed to the successful fight against the taro diseases.

"But it warns that the leaf blight and taro beetle continue to threaten taro growing countries in the region.

"The SPC has sought assistance from an international organization, ACIAR, for research in identifying bio-control agents to fight the taro diseases.

"For Radio Australia News, I'm Ofa Kaukimoce in Suva."

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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