TONGAN SQUASH FARMERS SEEK $6 MILLION SUPPORT

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NUKUALOFA, Tonga (Maganti Tonga, Dec. 29) - The Tongan Squash Exporters Council is seeking a $6 million loan for the purpose of compensating squash growers who were hurt by low returns from their sale of squash to Japan this year.

However, the loan application will not be lodged with the Tonga Development Bank until the new year, according to a spokesperson from the Ministry of Labour, Commerce and Industries.

The loan is to be guaranteed by government, and a sub committee, established to process the loan, has endorsed the application. It is now with the Minister of Finance who is expected to approve the commitment by government to guarantee the loan.

The dispersion of the $6 million is to be paid out to growers at 30 seniti per kg. The idea is to give the growers some money to meet their debts, because the 25 or 36 seniti paid by Japanese exporters was enough only to pay for the freight.

Growers received low prices because the Japanese Squash market was flooded after good harvests from Russia, China and from Japanese domestic growers. Tonga also exported about 6,000 tons more than its targeted 15,000 tons.

January 8, 2004

Matangi Tonga: www.matangitonga.to/nav.html

 

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