This is after the country’s leading horticultural exporting company, Nishi Trading, signed a partnership with the Australia and New Zealand supported Pacific Horticultural and Agricultural Market Access (PHAMA) Plus Programme on Tuesday, 30 June to increase exports of horticulture produce from Tonga.
Nishi Trading is collaborating with PHAMA Plus to trial ways to improve productivity and yield of various varieties of cucurbits including squash, butterkin, grey pumpkin and watermelons.
The partnership targets the company’s strong network of smallholder growers, semi-commercial and commercial producers and will provide them with timely information and advice on pest and disease management and good agricultural practise to meet export standards.
Nishi Trading’s Managing Director, Minoru Nishi Junior said the partnership strengthened their commitment to maintain and protect its export market and take advantage of new market opportunities.
“Through this partnership, we hope to continue building our human resource capacity and skills to provide effective good agricultural practices as well as pest and disease management advice for our growers,” he said.
“This in turn should encourage growers to increase their capacity to farm horticulture and increase rural household income.”
PHAMA Plus National Exports Systems Facilitator Tonga Paula Mosa’ati said the partnership builds on the programme’s long and successful relationship with Nishi Trading over the years.
“We are pleased to continue our work in partnering with a key player in Tonga’s agriculture sector, synergizing efforts to improve quality and consistency in supply of horticultural produce for the export market,” Mr Mosa’ati said.
“This partnership will also look at getting more women and youth involved in the horticulture industry as key players and contributors to economic growth.”
PHAMA, now known as PHAMA Plus, supported Nishi Trading in 2016 and 2017 to comply with China’s AQSIQ (Chinese quarantine department) requirements for packhouses that process squash for export to the Chinese market.
The programme also supported the company’s Hazard Access Critical Control Point (HACCP) accreditation in 2017 and 2018 and technical training for growers to improve watermelon production.
PHAMA Plus’ supports towards this partnership is aligned with its objectives to develop Tonga’s horticulture sector and achieve its overall goal of improving rural livelihoods and economic growth.