Taro: potato of the Tropics

Taro: Food for Pacific Island rugby players?Paraquat in Samoa is not only helping farmers to provide a staple food but is also enabling taro to become a very important export crop.  Ever wonder what fuels the impressive size and power of the awesome Pacific Island rugby players? Look no further than taro. Taro is a tropical starchy root crop which is a staple food in many subsistence communities, particularly in the Pacific islands. And while the rugby team members most likely have a broad selection of meals from which to choose, for many people living in these areas taro is an essential part of their diet. As a tropical crop, protecting taro from weeds is critical. Weeds thrive in such hot and humid climates, robbing yield. Hand hoeing crops is one option, but, not only is this time consuming and labour intensive, but it means other opportunities, particularly for education in poorer communities, may be missed. Using the right choice of herbicide provides an effective alternative. Weed control is critical in dryland taro, particularly in the first 3 months. Weeds thrive in such climates and a huge range of annual and perennial species have to be controlled by hand-hoeing or by spraying herbicides. 

Other facts about taro

  • Read more about the use of paraquat in taro here
  • Read an in-depth article about taro cropping here
Paraquat is used to control weeds growing in taro fields before or after planting and between the crop rows. Paraquat controls most weeds, does not move from the area of contact on leaves, and is deactivated in soil. Paraquat has advantages over hand-weeding in saving time, labour, and avoiding damage to shallow roots. Paraquat has advantages over other herbicides in that, unlike glyphosate, it can be used for inter-row weed control with much less risk of damaging the crop; and unlike soil residual herbicides it is applied at much lower rates and will not leach


The natural process by which water soluble substances are carried downward through the soil into groundwater.
or affect following crops. Paraquat is also rainfast in 15-30 minutes.