5 Oct 2004

Doubts about filling of squash export quota in Tonga

10:29 am on 5 October 2004

The chairman of the Squash Exporters Council in Tonga says he doesn't think a new export quota will be filled this year.

Dr Fred Sevele says the Council decided to impose an export quota this year after last season's poor returns as a result of the world market being flooded.

Harvesting began last week in the industry which has proved a good money earner in recent years.

Dr Sevele says despite it still being early days, expectations are not too high.

"My feeling what I have seen so far is no we will not be able to meet our target of 16,500 tonnes. We've had a lot of rain this year and that has affected the crops in terms of fertilising, in terms of spraying and my gut feeling is that it will be around 13,000, 14,000 at most."