30 Mar 2009

Benefit to Tuvalu from Fiji port opening

4:23 pm on 30 March 2009

Tuvalu's high commissioner to Fiji says the planned new trade between his country and Fiji's northernmost island, Rotuma, will yield many benefits.

Rotuma is preparing for its first trade of agricultural produce with its closest island neighbour Tuvalu next month after it became a port of entry.

Tuvalu doesn't have the right soil to cultivate some food crops, including dalo and cassava and has to import these products.

Its high commissioner to Fiji, Tine Leuelu, says ships travelling between Tuvalu and Fiji will now be able to stop in Rotuma and he welcomes this new trade opportunity.

"We have been importing all these root crops from Suva. Rotuma is about a third of the distance. Rotuma is so close to our southernmost island. So it grows benefts in terms of the kind of trade if there are ships that can go right across from Rotuma."

Tine Leuelu says officials now need to ensure that all products are free from pests and diseases.