13 Feb 2013

Tongan yam exporter opts for formal market

5:30 am on 13 February 2013

A Tongan exporter, who has got financial assistance through a new government fund, says she has a new approach to selling agricultural produce overseas.

Mele Amanaki's Pacific Exotic Foods is one of several companies allocated funding through the government's new Agricultural Export Marketing Fund.

She exports sweet yams to Auckland and hopes to expand to Sydney this year.

Ms Amanaki says the government money serves as bridging finance, allowing her to pay farmers at the farm gate.

She says she is selling into the formal market which is not normally done by Tongan exporters.

"A lot of our exporters here in Tonga go to the informal market where they go and their families in New Zealand would take it [the produce] to the households, to the Tongans or through the churches. What I am doing I take it to a commercial importer in New Zealand and hopefully with Australia that they have already got a set distribution network."

Mele Amanaki of Pacific Exotic Foods.