TONGA SQUASH EXPORTS DOWN, QUALITY UP

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Trader confident industry is in good shape

NUKU΄ALOFA, Tonga (Matangi Tonga, Nov. 25, 2009) - TONGA exported 1,600 tonnes of squash pumpkin to Japan and South Korea at the end of the 2009 squash season this week, said Minolu Nishi Jr, the President of the Tonga Squash Council.

Minolu, a Director of Nishing Trading Company Ltd said that his company exported the most squash this year, 981 tonnes, with 57% of his squash going to Japan and the remaining tonnage going to South Korea.

He said that the final price for his squash has not been determined, because his last shipment has not reached Japan.

Minolu was very happy with the yield this year, and in addition to producing better quality squash he expected a good price, "enough to pay for cost and get a return, and it is a testament that the industry is still viable."

There were only four squash growers this year and three of them were also exporters.

Despite the industry's setback the last couple of years, Minolu is confident that the squash industry will continue to grow.

Tonga's total squash exports last year were 2,400 tonnes.

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