The first shipment of Tongan squash bound for Japan and a new market Korea departed Nuku...alofa on Saturday October 14 with 2,108 tonnes of squash, but a disappointingly low yield is expected this year.
Stephen Edwards the Secretary General of the Tonga Squash Council said on October 18 that the first 856 tonnes of squash is for the Korean market and the balance of 1,252 tonnes is for Japan.
However, because of a low yield of squash this season they were targeting to export only 10,000 tonnes or less, down on last year...s 12,650 tonnes exported to Japan.
"A second ship, which we hoped would depart Nuku...alofa on October 20, has been anchored here since October 5, and up to this week the ship...s capacity has yet to be filled because of the low yield," said Steve. He added that they are targeting to export at least 1,800 tonnes in the second shipment, which they hope have filled by Friday. Meanwhile, a third ship is already here in Nuku...alofa waiting for squash shipments.
There will be a total of six shipments for this year...s squash season.
The price for the Tongan squash for Japan had yet to be established because the first shipment left Tonga only last weekend. The Korean market has established their price of USD .75 cents per kilo of baby squash.
At the start of the planting season Steve was anticipating yields of around the same level as last year, however the reduced tonnage is reportedly due to diseases that have affected much of the squash this year.