7 Sep 2006

Importing bananas to Niue sign of continuing impact of cyclone Heta

6:53 pm on 7 September 2006

Niue, which once made much of its income from exporting bananas, is now importing the fruit.

It is also bringing in other tropical foods such as mangoes and shop owner, Bill Weiss, says it is partly a product of the damage caused by Cyclone Heta nearly three years ago.

Mr Weiss says there are still bananas grown on the island but when a customer reported not being able to find any, he had a carton air freighted in.

"So it has to do with the cyclone and as you know there are not many people here. There are not many people setting up new businesses to grow bananas and it is not just the growing - it is also the soil here, it is very infertile."

Mr Weiss he is selling the bananas at around 3 dollars 50 U.S. a kilogramme.

Two generations ago the export of bananas and kumara formed the backbone of the island's economy.