16 March 2022
Food security and agriculture is a constant concern for the people of Tonga because the country is currently ranked second in the world’s most at risk country to natural hazards, Prime Minister Hon. Hu’akavameiliku, and Acting Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forests told the 36th Session of the Food and Agriculture Organization Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific in Dhaka, Bangladesh from March 8-11, 2022.
Tonga is also ranked third as the world’s ‘most at risk’ country to the effects of climate change, with 80 percent of its population living on the coastlines, the Hon. Hu’akavameiliku stated while giving Tonga’s statement on March 10th.
While Tonga currently imports a lot of food, especially protein products of meat and fish, the main focus of the Ministry of Agriculture is to increase the local food production of livestock, crops and fruit trees for the local and export markets.
The Hon. Hu’akavameiliku said agriculture is critical for Tonga.
“Tonga firmly believes that agriculture is key to Tonga’s sustainable development, a key driver of Tonga’s economic development, key to poverty reduction and rural livelihood, key to adaptation to climate change, key to food security during this COVID-19 pandemic and key to building Tonga’s resilience to disasters,” the Hon. Prime Minister stated.
The Hon. Hu’akavameiliku acknowledged the FAO’s continued support in the last 50 years, including assistance given following the January 15 Hunga-Tonga-Hunga-Ha’apai marine volcano and tsunami and the current COVID-19 crisis in Tonga.
“Despite these many challenges, FAO has always been a key partner of Tonga for more than 50 years. The numerous FAO’s technical and financial assistances has always been instrumental, in Tonga’s development Food and Agriculture,” Hon Hu’akavameiliku said.
“FAO’s timely and key assistances to our recovery programs from numerous disasters that occurred, including the recent volcanic eruptions has been instrumental in getting Tonga back to road recovery.” Hon Hu’akavameiliku congratulated the FAO for convening the conference and thanked the government of Bangladesh for hosting it.