THE Ministry of Agriculture has predicted a 3600 tonne yield of squash pumpkin production for 2015.

It would be the best yield so far for this year.

According to the Minister of Agriculture, Food, Forestry and Fishery (MAFFF) Hon. Semisi Fakahau this is the outcome of a survey conducted by the ministry.

“Up to 99 percent of the squash are believed to be free of powdery diseases, “said Hon. Fakahau.

Fakahau revealed this in Parliament earlier this week.

He said although no heavy rainfall was experienced in Tongatapu but the recent frequent rainfall contributes to the yield and the growth of the squash pumpkin.

The cooler air and the fall in the air temperature up to 10 centigrade has also contributed to the good yield.

Hon. Fakahau says MAFFF is working closely with local growers to ensure good quality product is maintained in the market.

They are being advised to handle squash with care when preparing it for the market.

“In the packing process, the passing of squash like a rugby ball should be stopped for this would affect the quality of squash.

MAFFF is providing technical assistance to educate growers on proper management of the squash from growing to its marketing. We want a good quality product for the market,” explained Hon. Fakahau

Meanwhile an estimated 1,034 acres of land are planted with squash pumpkin.

The harvest season is set to begin this weekend. In the first planting season, an estimated 156 acres of squash will be harvested. For the second week of October, another 118 acres will also be harvested.

Harvest work in an estimated total 760 acres of squash for the third and the fourth planting season is scheduled for mid and end of October.

Tonga squash production is mostly exported to Japan and Korea.

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