New Zealand gives ‘temporary approval’ for import of Tonga watermelons, source says

Faka'atā 'e Nu'u Sila ke hū mai e meleni 'a Tonga 'i ha ngofua fakataimi pea 'e fai hono siofi ke makatu'unga hano hoko atu 'i ha mahino 'e fai lelei'i 'o e fakahoko fatongia mei Tonga' ke fakapapau'i ko e meleni pe 'oku hao' 'oku uta mai'. Mahino foki ko e tu'utu'uni ko 'eni ne toki fakamahino aneefiafi ki Tonga 'e kamata hono 'omai 'o ha uta fakaangaanga 'o e meleni hili ia hano toloi mei he uike kuo 'osi'.

New Zealand has lifted the suspension on Tonga watermelons imports with special requirements, a source has told Kaniva News this morning.

The ban imposed more than two months ago stopped the export of melons after live fruit fly larvae were detected at the New Zealand border on a consignment of watermelons from the kingdom.

Watermelons sold in Tonga after the ban. Photo/Supplied

It is understood a special event is expected to be held in Nuku’alofa this morning to issue the temporary approval permit by the New Zealand authority in Tonga.

Our source said it is a satisfying outcome given the importance of trade for both countries and how New Zealand favourably considered the Tongan farmers’ situation.

The news came after plans to send New Zealand watermelons from Tonga last week were postponed, sparking claims the information released about the arrangement was just made up to arouse growers’ hopes.

As Kaniva News reported yesterday, Tonga’s Trade Minister Samiu Vaipulu said there were things that still needed to be completed in the process after a plan to temporarily unblock the export last week.

Growers who exported their melons through the government had been paid 50 percent of their price and the government was looking at paying for the melons which were destroyed in New Zealand.

“We have made an agreement with the growers,” Hon. Vaipulu said, but did not give any details of the agreement.

He said the shipment containing the infected melons was from a private company and it affected Tonga’s permit to send any more melons to New Zealand.

“Work was underway to establish a more organised system because it was a private shipment which was infected,” Hon. Vaipulu said in Tongan.

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