Fakatapu kihe tala malu ‘oe Fonua moe fuka ‘oku kei vilingia -
Fakatulou kae ‘ata mo’oku e faingamalie ko ‘eni ke fakahoko atu ‘a e fatongia ni ‘ihe ngaue mahu’inga ki hono pouaki ‘a e ngaahi pisinisi tautaufetifo kihe sekitoa ngoue ‘ihe hono faka’ai’ai ‘oe hu koloa ki tu’apule’anga moe tupulaki faka – ‘ekonomika ‘a e fonua. ‘Oku ou kole keu hoko atu ‘a e fakahohoa’a ni ‘i he lea fakapilitania.
1. Australian High Commissioner, Your Excellency, Mr. Brett Aldam, Afeaki, National Coordinator for the PHAMA Project, Tsutomu Nakao, Senior Government Officials,
2. Distinguish Guests,
3. Ladies and Gentlemen
It is my pleasure to welcome you all to this morning’s launch to mark the completion of the work on the packaging - cartoon boxes for export.
I am indeed grateful for your presence here this morning, and am delighted to see the outcome of the joined effort and commitment partnership between the private sector - the agricultural exporters the Government of Tonga and the Australian AID assistance program, through the PHAMA Project, in developing the packaging carton boxes that we witness today.
Our gathering here today reflects the close collaborations between government ministries, businesses partners, donor agencies and farmers, in addressing key issues and challenges faced by Tonga in exporting its Agricultural commodities to our main export markets.
Government through the Ministry continues in its efforts to support and facilitate private sector development and growth. Today’s occasion forms part of the partnership initiatives and assistance to promote exports.
Packaging has been identified as key constrains in exporting of Tonga’s products to the formal export markets. This was clearly highlighted through key strategy papers, including the National Export Strategy, the recently Government endorsed Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Strategy (MSME), and the draft Private Sector Development Strategies (PSDS) of 2012. These strategies emphasized the need for Tonga to meet basic key market requirements in the areas of packaging and labeling.
Lack of proper packaging limits Tonga’s competitiveness in key markets and thus has withhold us Tonga from exporting to formal and established markets such as supermarkets and formal retail points in major market destinations such as New Zealand, Australia and the US.
In past years our exports has predominantly been focused on the informal market networks, including the Tongan communities and church groups in overseas. This informal marketing practice has proven to not only place Tonga at a very narrow export market base in term of volumes and values but it has been found to be unreliable and costly to both the exporters and farmers.
Packaging plays an important role in increasing the market access of Tonga’s agricultural commodities, through protecting, preserving and presenting final products that meets the requirements of the target consumers and buyers. Packaging helps in gaining consumers’ confident on the products, , cleanliness and safety not only for the consumers but for the resellers and potential buyers who are interested in Tongan products.
However from a consumer point of view, I can say that packaging helps to position our products at the market and may have the competitive advantage in placing our products on top of Tonga’s main competitors.
Therefore, today’s occasion marks the completion of the second part of the packaging project, which is the production of the carton boxes, and on that I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Government of Australia, for their great assistance through the PHAMA project in the development of these newly designed carton boxes.
The development of the packaging follows the main tourism brand – ‘The Kingdom of Tonga, the True South Pacific’, with the aim to consolidate Tonga’s marketing profile and appearance at the international markets, not only for tourism but to promote the quality products and services from the Kingdom of Tonga. The carton boxes were design as multi user boxes, and it will be used for packing of both frozen and fresh products, including fruits and vegetables from Tonga, intended for the export markets.
I understand that this is just the beginning, and we still have a long way to go to fully address similar market access issues and challenges we face in exporting to the formal markets. I am confident that Government through the Ministry of Commerce, Tourism and Labour will continue this partnership with key stakeholders and donor partners such as the Australian AID program, to address these critical issues.
I also would like to acknowledge here the hard work of the Tonga Market Access Working Group in particular the tireless effort of the Packaging Committee, and the leadership of the PHAMA Coordinator, Mr. Tsutom Nakao, Tevita Lautaha and as well as the assistances provided by the Pacific Island Trade and Invest Office in Auckland, in materializing this dream project to become what we are witnessing today. What we see today are fruits of your hard work, and I would like to thank you personally for a job well done.
I believe that you have done your best and this is another milestone in the history of our attempt to develop our agricultural sector. So today we will pass on these new carton boxes to our fellow farmers, growers and exporters to fill them up with the quality produce from Tonga and sell them to the markets.
With those few words, I wish you all the very best and I hope that this new packaging materials will further add benefits to our agricultural exporting businesses on their exports attempts, and will continue to increase the exports from Tonga, and thereby contribute to increasing the livelihood of our families, the economy, and the people of Tonga.