Philippine trumps islands in pawpaw exports to New Zealand


Pawpaw growers in the Cook Islands are being criticised by the government for failing to take advantage of export opportunities, reports Radio New Zealand International. <!--more-->

[caption id="attachment_3703" align="alignright" width="138" caption="Philippine pawpaw has outstripped exports of the fruit from the Pacific Islands to New Zealand."]<a href=""><img class="size-full wp-image-3703" title="philippine pawpaw" src="" alt="" width="138" height="104" /></a>[/caption]

“Inferior fruit or a lack of it, coupled with the failure of a heat treatment system and the collapse of a growers’ association meant there was little to export,” the report says.

Research by the Auckland office of Pacific Trade &amp; Invest (PT&amp;I) shows that from being the largest provider of pawpaw to New Zealand in 1991, the Cook Islands has ceased exports of the fruit in the past 18 months. Two decades ago, the Cook Islands supplied 62.5 per cent of New Zealand's pawpaw. That is down to zero today.

The other significant exporter of the fruit, Fiji, where the fruit is also called papaya, still managed some exports until floods in January and March this year wiped out 81 acres of papaya and other plantations (see accompanying story in today’s Pacific Periscope). In the year to June 2012, Fiji provided NZ$ 316,068 worth of the fruit compared with nil imports from the Cook Islands.

But Fiji’s figure seems a pittance when compared to pawpaw imports into New Zealand from the Philippines. With pawpaw imports from that country starting only in 2005, they touched NZ$1 million only a year later. Interestingly, around the same period, Cook Islands’ supplies dropped from NZ$ 90,821 in 2004 to nearly half in 2005 at NZ$ 46,200. Now, Philippines exports have surpassed NZ$1.4 million in the year to June 2012.