Taro is a staple in the Samoan community. We can boil it with coconut cream. We can bake it in our umu. We even use the leaves in our Palusami. Since the Taro leaf blight in 1993, Samoa’s taro exports were devastated. This meant that Samoan farmers had to abandon the taro cultivation and find other plants that could be sown as a replacement. A thriving Samoan industry collapsed at the hands of a virus.
Today Samoan Taro has been cleared of all disease and farmers are again farming our most treasured crop. However, the work doesn’t end with growing the taro. Farmers now need to find people to purchase the crop. With less than 300,000 people in Samoa, the customer base is small and highly competitive.
Melbourne has not always had a strong representation of Samoans or Pacific Islanders in Australia. Most of our people were found in Sydney or Brisbane, but this is changing. After being named as the World’s Most Liveable City for the 7th year in a row, it is clear why the numbers of Samoans in Melbourne has grown.
Usoga moved to Melbourne in the 1990's. He met his wife Roxane while in Melbourne and together they started a family. They own a successful concreting company and are parents to five beautiful children. Like most families they have faced their ups and downs but have decided that they would like to give back to Samoa.
So the story of Polynesian Frozen Taro began. It is a family run business from the collection of the taro from different farms around Samoa, to the scraping and packaging. Even the packaging design and exportation has included aunts, uncles, parents, siblings, cousins and children because they see the importance of what this business can do for Samoa’s agricultural industry.
Taro is not the only product that is planned for export. Make sure to keep an eye out for other products straight from Samoa. If you are in Melbourne and would like to place an order of taro please email firstname.lastname@example.org and don’t forget to like their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/supportsamoa.
If you liked this blog why not read more about Living Koko another company who is helping to share the treasures of Samoa.