Fresh export claims come to nothing as Minister says growers, gov’t need to work together

    Kuo ‘ikai hoko hono tala mei Tonga ‘e kamata uta mai e meleni he uike kuo ‘osi’ pea kuo ‘ohake ai e ngaahi fehu’i ko ‘eni. Ko e ha e makatu’unga mo’oni ‘o e ongoongo ko ia’ ‘a ia ne pehē ‘e he Televīsone Tonga’ ko e ma’u mei he kau ma’u mafai? Na’e ‘eke ia ‘e he Kaniva’ ki he Potungaue Primary Industry ‘a Nu’u Sila ni’, hili hono tukuange mei Tonga e ongoongo’ ni, pe ne’ i ai ha palani ke faka’atā vave ‘a hono uta mai ‘o e meleni talu hono ta’ofi. Ko e tali na’e ‘omai ne pehē ‘e kei tapui pe hano toe ‘omai pea ko hano to’o ‘o e fakataputapui ‘e fakafalala pe ‘i ha vave ‘a e ngāue ‘oku fai mei he Kolonitini ‘a Tonga’. ‘Oku ‘i ai nai ha feinga ke nonga pe kau tō meleni ‘oua te nau hoha’a ki hano tenge pule’anga’ ki ha fa’ahinga huhu’i, he tokua ‘e vave pa hano toe faka’atā ke uta mai ‘enau meleni kae hili ko ia’ ‘oku ‘ikai? Mahino mei he tali mei he pule’anga ‘oku te’eki ha tokoni fakapa’anga makehe ia ki he kau tō meleni ko ‘eni kuo uesia he ma’u ‘o e lango hūhūkia’. ‘Oku tukuaki’i e potungāue Kolonitini ia ‘a Tonga ki he ta’emaau fakafounga ngāue pea ‘ikai ha kau taukei totonu ke nau fakahoko ‘a e ngāue kuo fiema’u ‘e ha timi ‘ātita ‘oku tataki atu mei Nu’u Sila he feinga ke solova ‘a e palopalema’ ni. Kuo tukuaki’i ai e pule’anga ‘o pehē ‘oku ‘asi mai ‘oku ‘ikai ko ha ‘isiu ‘eni ‘oku mu’omu’a kia kinautolu. ‘I ha tali mei he pule’anga ne pehē ‘e Minisita Fefakatau’aki kuo ‘osi fai e felotoi ‘a e pule’anga mo e kau ngoue’ ka ne ‘ikai ke tala mai ko e ha e fakaikiiki e felotoi ko ia. Na’a’ ne pehē ne ‘osi totongi ange pe ‘e he pule’anga’ ‘a e peseti ‘e 50 ‘o e meleni ‘a e fa’ahinga ne uta ‘e he pule’anga’ pea kuo fai e sio na’a lava huhu’i fakapa’anga ‘a ‘enau meleni kuo puke tu’u ‘i Nu’u Sila’. Ko e toenga ‘o e kau uta meleni kehe i ha kautaha fakataautaha ne ‘ikai lava ha talanoa mo e ngaahi kautaha ko ia’.

    Plans to send New Zealand watermelons from Tonga last week were postponed, sparking claims the information released about the arrangement was just made up to arouse growers’ hopes.

    Trade Minister Hon Sāmiu Vaipulu

    A reliable source claimed the information, which was released by the Tonga Broadcasting Commission, was made up by authorities to deflect the growers’ demand for government and private company compensation.

    As Kaniva News reported earlier, some growers borrowed thousands of pa’anga to grow watermelons. It is understood Tongan farmers planted a large number of acres of  watermelons for export to New Zealand.

    Exports to New Zealand were blocked after fruit flies were found on the melons.

    Watermelons have flooded small local markets in Tonga. Photos seen by Kaniva News showed watermelons stacked up at tax allotments and residential properties. Watermelons were also seen being used to feed pigs.

    Kaniva News followed up the news with New Zealand’s Ministry of Primary Industry two weeks ago.

    We asked the MPI whether or not it was true there was a plan in place to lift the ban soon.

    “The suspension remains in place and we are working closely with the Tongan Ministry of Agriculture on the fruit fly issue,” the Ministry said.

    “That work is currently being done virtually due to COVID related travel restrictions.

    “The length of the suspension will depend on how quickly Tongan authorities can investigate the situation and put measures in place to assure New Zealand that their treatment processes are working. That said, the work is progressing well.”

    A source claimed the Ministry of Quarantine was disorganised and lacked people with the right skills to do the jobs.

    The source also claimed it appeared attempts to unblock exporting of watermelons to New Zealand was not a priority for the government.

    The source said attempts to convince New Zealand authorities that Tonga would only send watermelons that were safe from any infection appeared to be taking longer than expected.

    Kaniva News asked Trade Minister Sāmiu Vaipulu to comment on the matters and explain why last week’s plan to resume exports was postponed.

    He said there were things that still needed to be completed in the process.

    Growers who exported their melons through the government had been paid 50 percent of their price and the government was looking at paying for the melons which were destroyed in New Zealand.

    “We have made an agreement with the growers,” Hon. Vaipulu said, but did not give any details of the agreement.

    He said the shipment containing the infected melons was from a private company and it affected  Tonga’s permit to send any more melons to New Zealand.

    “Work was underway to establish a more organised system because it was a private shipment which was infected,” Hon. Vaipulu said in Tongan.

    “So there was need for the government and the growers to work together on this.”

    1 COMMENT

    1. Totongi huhui katoa ae kau ngoue nae lesisita kihe polokalama he koe fouii eni oe potungaue oku fkmalumalu ai e kolonitini kuo lava e fatongia oe tama faama koia ala leva a e puleanga o totongi huhui e kau faama he ko ene potungaue oua e toe talanga longoaa pea loloa pay up

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