Waimanalo Research Station to host Taro Field Day on Friday

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Jari Sugano, (808) 622-4185
Extension agent, Plant and Environmental Protection Sciences
Frederika Bain, (808) 956-3092
Writer/editor, Communications, CTAHR
Posted: Jun 19, 2013

Organic taro growing at CTAHR's Waimanalo Research Station
Organic taro growing at CTAHR's Waimanalo Research Station

The College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR), University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, will hold Taro Field Day at its Waimānalo Research Station on Friday, June 21, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m.  The free and open-to-the-public event will showcase CTAHR’s Taro Germplasm Collection and raise awareness of the statewide Taro Security and Purity Task Force.

Topics discussed will include the many taro varieties in Hawai‘i and new and innovative techniques for growing taro, including dryland taro culture, organic taro production, phytosanitation, and apple snail infestation prevention. Participants will be able to tour CTAHR’s organic taro collection and network with fellow farmers and Hawai‘i’s agricultural agencies. Waimānalo community members will also offer kalo-pounding demonstrations.

The collection is a way for CTAHR to safeguard the varieties grown at multiple locations across the state.  For instance, if the crops in one location are threatened by a particular disease or pest, such as pigs or deer, the collection ensures that the particular taro strain is not wiped out. It also helps to celebrate and perpetuate the culture, tradition and value of taro in Hawai‘i.

The Taro Security and Purity Task Force was established by Governor Linda Lingle in 2008 to help the state craft legislation to protect the future of taro in Hawai‘i, taking into account economic, cultural, biosecurity, land and water issues. OHA is the task force's administrator and chief funder.  Members are drawn from the state Department of Agriculture; state Department of Land and Natural Resources; UH Mānoa College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources; Onipa‘a Na Hui Kalo, a statewide organization of taro farmers; and the Hawaiʻi Farm Bureau Federation, as well as representatives from taro-farming communities on O‘ahu, Kaua‘i, Maui, Moloka‘i, Lana‘i and the Big Island, and a member representing botanical gardens or taro collections.

The most current list of members and more information can be found at the Task Force’s website at http://tarotaskforcehi.shutterfly.com/aboutus.

The Waimānalo Research Station is located at 41-698 Ahiki Street. For more information, please call Jari Sugano at (808) 622-4185.