LIVE FIJI BEES SENT TO TONGA FOR POLLINATION PROJECT

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SUVA, Fiji Islands (August 27, 2001 - The Fiji Times/PINA Nius Online)---Live bees are being flown from Fiji to Tonga to help with squash pumpkin pollination.

The first boxes of bees were air freighted over the weekend.

Another 20 boxes from McKenzie Beelines (Fiji) Limited will be flown to Tonga Saturday.

The company’s managing director, Gavin McKenzie, said: "Tonga has F$15 million (US$ 6,772,500) in export revenue in squash pumpkin, and if through pollination we can increase fruit set by 20 percent, then an additional F$ 3 million (US$ 1,354,500) will be returned to the Tongan squash pumpkin farmers."

McKenzie Beelines has been working for the past five and a half years developing beekeeping in Fiji.

The company has assisted in the formation of the Fiji Beekeepers' Association and carried out a feasibility case study on beekeeper viability.

The company assisted in establishing the Nadroga/Navosa Fiji Beekeepers Association branch in a 100 hive training program on Fiji's main island, Viti Levu.

The program has 50 new beekeepers receiving hands-on practical training.

Fiji is still not self sufficient in honey production and needs another 20-30 tons of production to meet national demand before considering exports.

"The next phase of development is a central honey buying and marketing center in Fiji to complete the infrastructure needed," said McKenzie.

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

Pacific Islands News Association (PINA) Website: http://www.pinanius.org 

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