A scientist from the Pacific Community (SPC) is in Nanning Guangxi, China, this week to present important research on new methods for improving the supply of taro planting material. Improved production methods are important for food security and taro export industries in Pacific Island countries and territories. Ulamila Lutu is currently attending the inaugural World Congress on Root and Tuber Crops, which brings together around 750 key industry stakeholders including farmers, researchers, the private sector and donor agencies. Ms Lutu, a senior Research Technician at SPC’s Centre for Pacific Crops and Trees in Fiji, presented the centre’s efforts to improve mass propagation of taro planting material using a “bioreactor system”, with Samoa’s taro industry providing a case study. This research is especially significant in light of the taro leaf blight which saw Samoa’s taro exports fall dramatically from 6,000 tonnes in 1993 to almost zero in 1994. Read more.