FIRST 2001 SHIPMENT OF NEW CALEDONIA SQUASH PUMPKIN LEAVES FOR JAPAN

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NOUMÉA, New Caledonia (October 9, 2001 - Oceania Flash/SPC)---Eight hundred tons of New Caledonia-grown squash pumpkin left the French Pacific territory last week for Japan, onboard the freighter Tisetsu, the daily newspaper Les Nouvelles Calédoniennes reports.

Squash season is a niche market agricultural product for New Caledonia and several other Pacific island nation neighbors, including Tonga and New Zealand.

Local producers said they expect to export thousands of tons of the vegetable to Japan (the main importer is in the Kobe region) by the end of this year’s season.

New Caledonia-grown squash pumpkin exports come primarily from the main island's east coast, in Bourail.

The small industry employs about fifty farmers and additional casual workers during the harvesting season.

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