30 Mar 2007

Tonga Bank loans for squash industry drops this year

7:27 am on 30 March 2007

There has been a steep decline in the Tonga Development Bank's loan allocation for the squash pumpkin industry.

The Managing-director Simione Sefanaia told Radio Tonga News the Board of Directors has approved only US$245,000 for squash loans - a drop from US$1.5-million in 2006.

The industry suffered last year due to the impact of mildew powder affecting squash leaves and a drop in export quantities to Japan.

The volume of squash export last year was half of the earmarked tonnage of 16,000.

Simone says their major reason for the drop in loan allocations was based on 2006 figures, with many borrowers unable to commit to their loan repayments.