9 Aug 2011

Niue's noni farm to double in size to 120 hectares

1:53 pm on 9 August 2011

Niue's noni farm is undergoing a major expansion and will become a significant employer on the island.

The farm, which is jointly owned by the Niue government and the Reef Group, is being doubled in size following the interest shown by Chinese investors.

A group of Chinese businesspeople from New Zealand last month made arrangements to take large quantities of noni juice from Niue, the Cook Islands and Samoa.

The manager of the Niue noni farm, Mike Doherty, says it'll take about four years for the operation to reach full production from trees covering 120 hectares.

He says clearing the land's a major exercise.

"There's only a few inches of soil and below that is solid rock and a lot of the rock actually comes up out of the ground and it's quite vicious looking, quite jagged. Yeah, it's a big job clearing land in Niue. It involves bulldozers and then coming in behind the bulldozers and then doing."

Mike Doherty says the farm currently has 20 staff but this will increase.