FAO assists community aquaculture development in Tonga

Development of community-based milkfish farming in Tonga will be given a boost through a project under the FAO Technical Cooperation Programme.

The project will work on Nomuka Island and Tonga’tapu and it has a total budget of USD231,000. The project document was signed by the Minister for Agriculture & Food, Forests and Fisheries, the Honourable Sangster Saulala, in Tonga and the FAO Sub-regional Coordinator for the Pacific Islands, Mr Gavin Wall, during the 10th Meeting of FAO South West Pacific Ministers for Agriculture held in Apia, Samoa, 11-13 April 2013.

The primary objective of the project is to develop commercially viable and environment-friendly milkfish farming systems in Nomuka Island and Tonga’tapu that will result in a sustainable source of food and income for island communities in Tonga. The project will be executed by the Fisheries Department, Ministry of Agriculture & Food, Forests and Fisheries in Tonga in cooperation with FAO.

Under the project, the viability of community-based milkfish farming systems will be demonstrated by establishing and operating two pilot aquaculture systems. This will require the identification of suitable farm sites, environmental impact analysis, construction of the farm ponds, training in farm operations and management, local feed production, post harvest handling of the fish and marketing. The  comminities will be involved in each step of the process and will receive extensive training in the operation of the farm as well as in business management. Successful implementation of the project will enhance food security in the communities in Nomuka and Tonga’tapu. And it will add to the efforts of the government to establish viable income sources for local communities and to increase local production of nutricious food.