Hopes Tonga melon trade to NZ back in a fortnight

Photo: 123 rf

There are hopes in Tonga that the melon trade to New Zealand can be up and running again in two weeks.

Trade was halted a fortnight ago when fruit fly were found in melons from Tonga during bio-security checks in New Zealand.

With an audit underway into what happened, Minoru Nishi of Nishi Trading said the sector is hoping to be back in business as soon as possible.

He said they have just unloaded 100 tonnes of watermelon meant for export on the domestic market in Tonga with another 400 tonnes likely in the next week.

Mr Nishi said the ban is hurting a lot of people, but it is an opportunity to work more closely together and put improvements to the system.

“To ensure that these things don’t happen again. But it’s having cool heads around the table and people in the right frame of mind, the right passion and commitment,” Minoru Nishi said.

“You know, we are serious about this, we want to be in it for the X amount of years, we are in it for sustainability reasons. We see the opportunity growing for us, especially with the suspension of the pathway from Australia [to New Zealand]. It’s the perfect time for us here in Tonga to take on that opportunity,” he said.

Source: RNZ