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Friday 30 January 2015 | Published in Regional


PAGO PAGO – Congestion at ports in the United States has caused food shortages thousands of miles away in the Pacific island territory of American Samoa, it’s reported.

The last food freighter that brought essential food supplies was four weeks ago and most stores have run out of eggs and milk.

A dispute between port workers and their employers is behind the slowdown at ports along the west coast of the US, which has led to chaos in the shipping industry.

For residents in American Samoa, about 7000km away, it means supplies of essential foodstuffs are running low, as there hasn’t been a delivery for four weeks, Radio New Zealand International reports.

Most shops don’t have eggs or milk, and prices have been hiked on the food that is available – one store is charging more than $2 for a single tomato.

Production at a new tuna cannery expected to employ 2000 people, has also been delayed by the problems in the US, because essential parts needed to operate the factory haven’t arrived.

The factory is now due to start production in mid-February. American Samoa relies on imports for almost all of its food.

The manager of the School Lunch Programme, Christine Fuala‘au, says they have enough supplies for the 18,000 students at the moment but if there’s any further delays they will run out.

Fuala‘au says they bought milk from local suppliers anticipating delays.

For produce the school programme is using local vegetables and fruits.

She says they have enough to tide them over until the arrival of the next freighter which is due to arrive in Pago Pago on February 2.