Tonga: Export crops that survived the tsunami could be done in by volcanic ash

Tonga company Heilala Vanilla says its vanilla crops in Tonga survived the tsunami, but volcanic ash could destroy the plantation. Vanilla is one of the island nation’s biggest exports. Heilala Vanilla chief executive Jennifer Boggiss said the company's vanilla crops were above sea level, so were untouched when the tsunami hit the islands after a massive volcanic eruption on Saturday. However, she is concerned of the impact of ash rainfall on the plants.

“If ash stays on plants for long enough, it will impact the plant, and obviously that's not just vanilla but all crops, so it’ll impact other export crops from Tonga like yams and squash.”

The eruption sent a thick blanket of ash into the sky, contaminating water supplies and cutting off communication.


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