The first SCHS Certified facility to process and distribute quarantine export approved products in the Kingdom was officially opened yesterday by HRH Prince Tupoutoʻa ‘Ulukalala.
The Nishi Trading Pack House has its SCHS certification approved by New Zealand’s Ministry of Primary Industries and the HACCP certification by Telarc SAI Ltd.
The certification is a milestone for Tonga especially, as it will allow Tongan farmer’s produce to be accepted as approved suppliers in the international market for fresh produce.
The new Pack House has implemented a world standard food safety system to ensure the dispatch of food to accepted quality standards, giving international customers the confidence to purchase from Tongan farmers.
Nishi Trading Managing Director, Minoru Nishi Jnr says “…it is of utmost importance that we ensure our produce is looked after from the fields of our small farmers to the plates of our customers”.
Designed to international standards, the packing house is a high capacity processing and packing facility for fresh produce under HACCP certification and a Quality Management System as well as a distribution hub for local farming enterprises. The facility includes areas for value added processing and it is expected to incorporate more processing equipment in the future as the business and markets expand.
The design has a number of green elements including the ventilation system, insulation, lighting and low use of water.
“We have the ability to produce with very low energy usage which will keep operating costs to a minimum, this and an efficient workforce will mean we will be internationally competitive on price and quality” Mr Nishi says.
General Manager, Luke Berrell says “During the design phase we recognised the importance of scalability – this gives us the flexibility to manage large numbers of growers with small quantities through our Identity Preservation System to high volume output. We have the capability to pack 6 containers simultaneously, which is important for our future export markets when we may need to supply up to 20 containers on 1 ship”
The facility was part funded by the European Union funded IACT project, with the majority of funds provided by the private sector, and utilising the Nishi Quarry business for the supply of construction material. Apart from the steel frame made by BHP Singapore all material, labour and suppliers were sourced in Tonga.
Mr. Nishi says “We are very proud of what we have achieved and are focused on increasing export volumes and reduce the reliance on imported food. We must improve food security through sustainable agriculture, selling our produce to the world and develop the food processing industry which will compete with importers of food.”
Nishi Trading Co Ltd is a family owned Tongan business operating for more than 20 years that began as a commercial farm for exports and some imports and then diversified in the mid-2000’s to include a farming supplies retail store, a quarry for manufactured and construction materials and more recently a Pest Control Business.
The company’s statement of purpose is “To help Tonga prosper”.