No watermelon exports drove agricultural exports lower

Agricultural Exports Volume June 2017

  Jun 17
May 17
Apr 17
Mar 17

Total volumes (tonnes)
751.3 800.4 537.5 583.1

The total agricultural exports declined by 49.0 tonnes (6.1%) over the month largely attributed to no watermelon exports during the month compared to the 93.0 tonnes exported in the previous month. However, the favourable root crops harvest season continued, particularly for yam, sweet yam, and giant taro. The export of these crops rose by 49.6 tonnes (8.7%) which outweighed the decline in the export of swamp taro, taro tarua, cassava, and sweet potato. Exported green-drinking coconuts also increased over the month.

During the month, exported commodities decreased due to the seasonality of local produce such as watermelon, breadfruit, kava powder, plantain, brown coconuts, pele leaves, and chestnut.

The agricultural export proceeds received slightly rose by $0.1 million (21.1%) to $0.6 million as export proceeds for both root crops and kava increased in June 2017. The proceeds for the export of root crops amounted to $0.3 million. This was followed by kava export receipts of $0.2 million, reflecting the increase in the price of kava-Tonga last month and lagged effects of receipt of export proceeds, as most of the kava were exported to the United States.

Over the year, the total agricultural export volume rose by 2,875.9 tonnes (33.0%), supported by better harvest of root crops, the favourable squash, watermelon, and breadfruit season. These offset the decline in the export of kava-Tonga, coconuts, sandalwood, vanilla, onion, and mulberry juice over the year. The continuous support from the Government’s development loan scheme also supported the growth in the agricultural sector, with a rise of $2.4 million (27.5%) growth in loans to the agricultural sector. The annual agricultural export receipts also rose by $4.7 million (76.1%) to $10.9 million. The higher export receipts were for squash and crops (root crops and traditional crops), supported by the strengthening of the Japanese Yen and US dollar against the Tongan Pa’anga.

On the outlook, the Reserve Bank anticipates that the volume of exports will continue to increase in the near term supporting the expected growth in the agricultural sector. The year 2016/17 has seen better weather conditions than that of the previous years which will likely have favourable effects on the agricultural sector’s 2017/18 growth. On the downside, the export of Kava Tonga will continue to decline due to its low supply as a result of the drought in 2015 which also affected the kava rootstock.


Agricultural Exports Volumes - June 2017
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