New Zealand’s Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has issued a temporary approval for the export of fresh watermelons from Tonga to New Zealand.

Fresh watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) imports from Tonga were suspended in October due to the interception of live fruit fly larvae.

Since then, MPI has undertaken an audit of the pathway and assessed any corrective actions implemented by the Tongan National Plant Protection Organisation.

The temporary approval is to monitor compliance, especially with regards to the improved processes to ensure that they are effectively embedded.

The MPI has stressed the importance of it having confidence the processes to prevent another fruit fly interception are fully implemented before the pathway can be fully restored.