Tongan families to benefit from Belgian, US-funded project to get agriculture back on its feet

About 3000 Tongan families will benefit from an international project to restore agriculture devastated by January’s volcanic eruption and tsunami.

The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation  will spend US$700,000 to help households that relied on agriculture for their income before  the volcanic eruption and tsunami devastated Tonga in January.

Funding for the rehabilitation project will come from Belgium and the United States.

The money will also support families to re-establish income from fishing.

The project will also investigate the long term effects of the ash that fell on the kingdom after the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano exploded.

According to initial damage assessments, 80 percent of crops were affected by the tsunami in some of the worst affected communities on Tongatapu, Ha’apai and ‘Eua.

Thousands of square kilometres of crops and farms were damaged or destroyed and livestock were drowned by the tsunami.

The recovery project will focus on

  • Re-starting the crop production through land clearance support and provision of agriculture inputs,
  • Protecting the remaining livestock with the provision of emergency veterinary treatment and farm supplies to improve livestock health and farm recovery,
  • Restoring small-scale fishing activities and enabling small-scale fishing for nearshore pelagic fish.

FAO’s Sub-regional Coordinator for the Pacific Islands Ms Xiangjun Yao, said the FAO was collaborating with Tonga’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forests and the Ministry of Fisheries.

Implementing the project was complicated by the arrival of Covid-19 in Tonga and the spread of the disease would be closely monitored.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here