New multipurpose packhouse facility to boost Tonga’s root crops export

Leading Tongan export business Lotopoha Export Trading will soon complete the construction of a multi-purpose packhouse facility for root crops following a new partnership signed recently with the Pacific Horticulture and Agricultural Market Access Plus Program (PHAMA Plus).

The partnership builds on PHAMA Plus’ prior collaboration with Lotopoha to improve Tonga’s root crops export capacity and meet increasing quality requirements and market demands. The multipurpose facility will serve as a processing and packing facility for both frozen and fresh produce in the Eastern District of Tongatapu which supplies a large portion of the country’s total root crops exports volumes.

“We’re proud of our continued collaboration with PHAMA Plus to establish the packhouse facility and improve our export capacity to meet the minimum requirements for food safety where fresh produce from our farmers can be processed, packed and ready for exports,” said Melesisi Finefeuiaki, Lotopoha Export Trading Chief Executive Officer said.

“Lotopoha has been exporting to formal markets in the United States, New Zealand, and Australia, where food safety is a key market requirement to meet market standards, and this renewed collaboration will help the business prepare for Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points (HACCP) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)auditing, accreditations, and certification.”

Despite being one of the largest districts that supplies large volumes of root crops for exports, there has been no established proper processing facility in Tongatapu’s Eastern District to cater for the increased volumes of processing and packing of root crops for exports.

Cassie Cohen, First Secretary of the Australian High Commission to Tonga said: “Australia, through PHAMA Plus, is proud to support Tonga’s only woman root crops exporter – Melesisi and farming households that supply to her company, but more broadly to grow Tonga’s export capability of root crops.”

Olivia Philpott, First Secretary – Development, New Zealand High Commission Nuku’alofa said: “New Zealand’s partnership with Lotopoha Trading, through PHAMA Plus, is supporting inclusive economic growth by ensuring farming communities, and in particular women, from the Eastern District can access the benefits of upgraded packing facilities. We wish Melesisi and her team great success in the future.”

Tevita Lautaha, PHAMA Plus Country Manager Tonga said the completion of the new processing plant will help farming households in the Eastern District through enhanced, upgraded root crops outputs and capacity to cater to and serve existing and new prospective markets.

“This facility will help the village’s 50 farming households grow a total of 100 acres of land in order to sustain productivity and consistency in feeding the newly built processing plant, which will service existing and new prospective markets. As part of our commitment to gender, disability and social inclusion (GEDSI), we’re also working to support the development of a Workplace and Domestic Violence Policy for Lotopoha to benefit its majority women factory workers and growers. This will be done in close consultation with the Tonga National Centre for Women and Children.”

The multi-purpose packhouse facility is expected to break ground in April 2023 and earmarked for completion in July 2023.


*For more information, please contact PHAMA Plus Country Manager Tonga Tevita Lautaha on

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