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Taro, Colocasia esculenta (L.) Schott, occupies a significant place in the agriculture of the Asia-Pacific Region. It is in this region, more than any other in the world, that the crop attains its greatest importance as a staple food. In Oceania particularly, taro plays a critical role in household, community and national food security. Since both corms and leaves are usually consumed, taro supplies much-needed protein, vitamins and minerals, in addition to carbohydrate energy.

The socio-cultural importance of taro in the region is very high. The crop has evolved to be an integral part of the culture, and features prominently in festivals, social gift-giving and the discharge of social obligations. More recently, taro has become a source of income for individuals, and an earner of foreign exchange. Its role in rural development has therefore been increasing, especially with respect to the provision of employment and the alleviation of rural poverty.

Given the importance of taro, activities need to be geared toward its research, development, and available literature. This book is, therefore, a valuable and timely effort to fill some of the information gaps with respect to taro in the Asia-Pacific Region. Apart from a general coverage of the region, it delves into a country-by-country treatment of taro cultivation in 19 of the most important taro-growing countries in the region. The publication will be a useful reference source for researchers, extension workers, growers and entrepreneurs who are interested in taro. The presentation has placed emphasis on clarity and simplicity to permit easy understanding even by persons for whom English is a second language. I recommend this book to all users, and I am fully confident that it will prove valuable as an information resource.

Prem Nath

Assistant Director-General
and FAO Regional Representative
for Asia and the Pacific

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