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Lalotalie River Retreat

Nonu buyers OK, growers KO'd

By Niccola Hazelman-Siona

Nonu buyers OK, growers KO'd Pure Pacifica, the high profile nonu juice producing company fronted by some of Samoas equally high profile citizenry is facing a barrage of complaints from irate growers as well as other nonu juice producers.

Nonu growers have a lot of nonu on their hands and nowhere to take them to. The Nonu Association of Samoa has criticized Pure Pacifica for making promises they have not been able to keep.

When Pure Pacifica came on to the market last year they raised the cost of nonu to $9 per barrel.
Members of the Nonu Association soon felt the effect of that price hike when their normal suppliers started taking their produce where the price was right.

Faced with that problem Nonu Association members followed suit and raised their price to match that offered by Pure Pacifica.
And as the new price rise filtered through, everyone started to grow the nonu trees wherever there was space.

And the more Tupa’I Chen and his high profile company promised to ship millions of tons of the juice overseas, the more the country, with urgings from Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi and his government,  grew the nonu.

The trouble was the bottom soon fell out of the market and now the growers find themselves with an oversupply of the fruits and no buyers.
And Pure Pacifica are keeping a very low profile as growers try to find out if they have a market for their products or not.

And local nonu buyers are saying they are not affected but they feel for the plight of nonu farmers.
“They (farmers) took a big risk when Pure Pacifica announced their plans for nonu and so they were encouraged to grow and they did.

Now there is so much and no one wants to buy it,” said Papalii Grant Percival of Natural Foods International who also export processed nonu juice.
“We produce nonu on demand,” said Papalii, “and lucky for us, there is so much available and it’s in huge quantities.”

“Now with so much nonu available, loo

king for suppliers is not a problem because they now come to us but we can only take so much.”
National Yoshida of Yoshida Commercial,  another producer of nonu juice, faced a different problem last year with the arrival of Pure Pacifica.

He was forced to shut down production because there was no fruit.
“What’s the point in producing when there is no fruit? I had to shut down production last year because Pure Pacifica started buying all the fruit at a price we could not afford.”

“There was not enough produce and demand was high, so us little guys sort of stopped. Now there is so much fruit that even if all the nonu buyers in Samoa got together, we would still not be able to take all the nonu that is available now.”

“I feel sorry for the farmers” said Mr. Yoshida “They are ones that are suffering now because as much as we want to buy, we cant buy it all, it just goes to waste.”
Papalii however is adamant that there is a future for nonu. He told Samoa Observer that  Samoa must look at breaking into the markets where nonu is in popular demand.

“Samoan nonu is the best in the world, and we need to use that to our advantage.”
“There is great potential for nonu. We need to develop the product more and get into the markets that count”

“Pure Pacifica I think were genuine in wanting to build the nonu enterprise. However they just made some bad calls. They thought nonu to be this big market, the reality is the market is very small.”

“All in all it is the planters or should we say the local suppliers of the fruit that will feel the sting of sour nonu deals,” said Papali’i.
“It’s the farmers that I feel for. It is very unfair for them and I can understand their anger. They were told to plant and now who will buy it?”

“It’s sad.  I wouldn’t wish this on anybody. The government should not be encouraging things, their job is to facilitate and leave the planting to the people who know what they are talking about.”

Papalii says that the Samoan nonu is better than the more popular Tahitian noni and if Samoa found a way of getting the product out into the right place, the nonu could go far.
Meanwhile it has been very hard to get any kind of statement from Pure Pacifica.

Local spokesperson Apulu Lance Polu has not returned calls and Samoa Manager Masuisui Jr Pereira told Samoa Observer last Saturday that they will be sending out a press release on the matter soon.

 

 

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