27 Aug 2009

Tonga's squash industry faces increasing costs

11:08 am on 27 August 2009

A squash exporter in Tonga says he's committed to ensuring the survival of the local squash industry despite a notable drop in crop numbers on last year.

The director of Nishi Trading Limited, one of the bigger squash exporters, says downward trends in the market and tough competition from overseas exporters in Mexico and New Caledonia are having an impact as well as the increased cost of imports of seeds and organic fertilisers.

Minoru Nishi says high shipping rates coupled with one bad shipment of exports last year resulted in major financial losses to the family-run business.

"But we're trying to stick it out because there's no other major export for Tonga at the moment from the agriculture side. We've downsized a bit from last year. Last year we exported 1,132 tonnes, the company down to probably between 8 and 900 (tonnes) this year. The main reasons for that was decay problems last year. We're trying to rectify that problem."

The director of Nishi Trading Limited in Tonga, Minoru Nishi.