Teleneti Manumuʻa 42 of Niutoua Tongatapu is one of the Tongans who is experiencing a sudden windfall from selling firewood while almost 1/5 of the country is below the poverty line and that everyone struggles to financially get a better life.
“I am fed up with living without any income so I decided to come and sell firewood,” he told Kaniva Online.
Niutoua is at the northeast corner of the mainland Tongatapu and Kaniva met Teleneti in Fanga ʻo Pilolevu, one of the villages in the main capital town Nukuʻalofa where foods stuff and produce sellers set up stalls at the side of the road.
“I did not expect that fire woods could just sold out in a jiffy ,” he said.
I have just arrived with 22 bundles of fire wood and you can see now I only have 6 left.”
His only running costs include paying TOP$80 for the van that delivered his fire woods to Fanga, TOP$20 for petrol for the chainsaw machine for cutting of the woods, but one bundle of firewood is sold for TOP$10 so for his 22 bundles he gets $220.
A more than double net profit of $120 he pockets.
His fire woods include woods such as sialemohe, toi, koka, sita and others but sialemohe is the most sought after by customers because it is more flammable and the heat is more intense.
The money he gets from the selling of his fire woods financially help his family especially his children’s school fees, the kavenga – responsibilities for church, village and families.
As he is not the only one that is selling fire woods in the market Teleneti revealed his secrecy for how he managed to have his firewood the most sought after.
“Make the bundles bigger and just keep to the same price when it is very competitive here,” he said.
He gets his fire woods right from his own tax allotment and he believes that he is lucky in that regard as his competitors have to look for other places rather than their own tax allotment to get fire woods from.
Teleneti is married with 6 children.