Ten containers scheduled for shipment to New Zealand

Tongan melon exporters furious over truck non-show

Watermelon growers in Tonga are furious with the government following the cancellation of the first shipment of the fruit since a temporary export permit was granted by New Zealand last week.

Ten containers of watermelons were scheduled to be shipped to New Zealand on 5 December.

However, the trucking companies assigned to transport the melons to the wharf in Tongatapu did not arrive to the growers' farms to pick up the produce, as RNZ Pacific Correspondent Kalafi Moala explained.

"The government, in particular the Ministry of Agriculture had organised for the trucks to come pick up the melons and so the fact that it didn't happen over the weekend, the responsibility falls back on them," he said reports www.rnz.co.nz

"I spoke to one of the exporters who told me that they tried to contact the Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Lord Tu'ilakepa, to try and intervene, but he was in Vava'u fulfilling cabinet duties with the prime minister.

"At this point we are unsure of the reason why the trucks didn't show up.

"The exporters and the growers were surprised that there were no trucks available to do the job or answer any queries. The ship left to New Zealand without the melons."


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