Hawaii Passes Bill to Protect Taro Plant

April 4, 2008

Author: Staff Writer

Source: Thomson Financial News

Wire Service: AP

[forbes.com/markets/feeds/afx/2008/04/04/afx4856190.html]

The sacred Hawaiian taro plant cannot be genetically modified for at least five years, according to a measure approved by lawmakers Thursday.

The moratorium falls short of the demands of many taro farmers and Native Hawaiian groups who want taro to remain untampered with forever. They sought a 10-year ban on alteration of the crop used to make the starchy food poi, a key ingredient in island cuisine.

'We wanted to keep taro pure,' said Steven Hookano, a Maui taro farmer carrying a taro plant at the Capitol. 'This is nothing but a time out.'