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Growers fear competition from other countries

PAPEETE, Tahiti (Tahitipresse, June 28, 2009) – Agriculture minister Frederic Riveta visited last week the nono juice factory in Mataiea on Tahiti's south coast. Tahitian producers fear other countries are using the name "Tahiti" to sell nono.

Nono or noni is a fruit attributed with having healing properties. The range of by-products coming from this fruit has grown bigger to include dietary supplements, cosmetic products and herbal teas.

A large nono juice factory worth US$22.2 million (€16.8m) has been built in Tahiti for this product in 2003 and 2004.

The factory was built for Morinda, a company that markets Tahiti's nono juice overseas.

But now Tahitian producers complain they do not have as many orders from Morinda as in the past.

They fear Morinda is turning to other countries producing nono like Mexico, Tonga or Thailand.

"This is completely wrong", Morinda officials said. They explained however they have now a large stock of nono and do not need as much production as in the past for the moment..

An increase in nono exports to try to conquer the Chinese market was scheduled but for different reasons this did not work out, they added.

Nono orders to Tahitian producers should rise again in 2009 and for the years to come, they claimed.

They also pointed out other problems such as poor maritime links between Tahiti and some production sites in the Marquesas Islands for instance.

Tahitian producers feel the Tahitian nono should be recognized by an "Appellation of Origin" - Guarantee of Origin - which could protect it.

The Morinda Company in Tahiti has been exporting noni juice since 1996. Morinda has four more plants outside French Polynesia, in the United States, in Germany, Japan and in China.

Morinda sells 60% of its products in Japan.

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