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By Samiu Fotu

NUKU‘ALOFA, Tonga (October 28, 1998, Tonga Times)---Poultry owners and egg producers in Tonga are unhappy about the prospect of foreign eggs being imported into the country by a former Deputy Director of Agriculture, ‘Ofa Fakalata.

Fakalata applied for a permit to import eggs, but there is strong resistance from local poultry workers

"It would be an unwise decision should Government allow the importation of eggs; as it will hurt our local production," said Siaosi Latu from Latu Poultry in Lomaiviti.

Latu and other poultry farm owners had a meeting last week in which they made a united decision to write Government protesting the granting of any permit for the importation of eggs.

Fakalata and others who want to import eggs argue that there are times when local producers are unable to supply the demand.

"We are producing enough eggs for the market now; and if there are times when there is a shortage, then we, the poultry (farmers), should be the ones to import eggs, if there is a need to do so," says Latu.

Local producers are charging P 7.50 - P 9 (US$ 4.65 - 5.58) for a tray of eggs. Prospective importers have not yet released a price for their eggs.

Several poultry farms went out of business in the early 1990's when American eggs were imported into the country at a much cheaper price than they could be produced locally.

For additional reports from The Tonga Times, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Newspapers/The Tonga Times.

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