News Item

Tongan growers search for export markets

News 22 Mar 2018

Tonga’s Growers Council are looking for more sustained opportunities to market their food especially root crops, while attending a Pacific Trade Invest New Zealand’s Pasifika Market in Auckland this week.

Senior Trade Official Maile ‘Akau’ola told Pacific Periscope, Tonga was struck but not crushed after Tropical Cyclone Gita.

“Tonga appreciates the chance and is hoping for more sustained opportunities to market our foods, especially our root crops. Our Growers Council want markets.”

He said instead of the container of taro and fresh young coconuts they were planning to sell at Pasifika they now have three varieties of 11 cartons of 25kg each sent by plane.

They plan to have a taro dessert called fakakakai taro and boiled taro with coconut cream for festival goers to try.

“Exporting taro is still at the infant stage as members of the Eastern Districts Growers Council are still hoping to secure markets that directly work with the council and through a middle man arrangement."

In addition, council members have other products such as watermelon, yam, kumara and tapioca, securing a direct market for these is a priority.

Fou Tongan organizations at the event includes Tupu'anga Coffee producers, ‘Alipate and ‘Emeline Mafile’o’s whose plantation was damaged but quickly got back on its feet.

They have repaired their damaged roof and walls at the factory and are back on track although they were still waiting for some of their staff to get back to work.

They will sell 100% Arabica Tupu’anga Coffee, gluten free vegetable corn chips (manioke) cassava, kumala chips and fusion products such as lu-sipi (taro leaves and lamb) pie.

South Pacific Mazuku owner Masa Kawaguchi said their objective is to add value to existing products and study market requirements developed from new market opportunities.”

Mozuku process a range of seafood such as pickled sea grapes, coconut infused smoked blood cockles (kaloa'a) and a variety of deep sea fish, breams, snappers and emporers.

While, artist Veuveuso Vaea who specializes in bone carving artefacts and tapa work will display his tapa artwork, which range in sizes from 30x30, 40x40, 50x50 and 100x100.

More than 35 Pacific Island companies from 12 countries will take part in the Path to Market program hosted by Pacific Trade Invest New Zealand.

Tonga's delegation is led by the Ministry of Commerce and also includes Hahake District Working Council (one of the worst hit areas by TC Gita).

The program is being held during Auckland's 2018 Pasifika Festival on March 24-25.

Source: Matangi Tonga