27 Jan 2014

Demand for Tongan vanilla growing overseas

7:38 am on 27 January 2014

A New Zealand business selling vanilla grown in Tonga says demand for its products is growing overseas, particularly in Japan and United States.

Heilala Vanilla is aiming to expand its exports with support from the Increasing Agricultural Commodity Trade project, funded by the European Union and run by the Secretariat of the Pacific Community.

The co-founder and director of the company, Jennifer Boggiss, says the IACT project has supplied her business with new equipment to prepare vanilla beans for export and assistance with its organic certification programme.

"The organic certification, that's important to us really to formalise our organic principles and practices which we've been practising all along but it is quite an expensive process to go through. So that's helped us which will in turn increase demand for our products in our overseas markets."

Jennifer Boggiss says Heilala Vanilla is focussing on marketing and building networks to become a globally recognised brand.