Tonga Horticulture Competitiveness workshop underway in Nuku’alofa
The Minister for Agriculture Hon Losaline Ma’asi this morning marked the beginning of a regional workshop known as Support to Tonga Horticulture Competitiveness and Letter of Agreement on an assessment to study on postharvest loses along Tonga’s fruit and vegetable chains.
The workshop is in partnership with the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization – FAO and the University of Sunshine Coast in Australia on providing technical assistance to the government and the Ministry.
In her opening remarks, Hon. Losaline Ma’asi says the workshop aims at improving the key services in Agriculture such as food safety, food security, food nutrition, livestock production and especially horticulture.
“ These initiatives complement our own Strategic Plan and the Tonga Agriculture sector plan in addressing food and nutrition security, sustainable development, poverty alleviation, increasing employment, reducing imports, and increasing export and food items from our own Kingdom. The Ministry is working on several commodities for import substitutions such as vegetables and is promoting the export of food products and certain commodities such as coconut, kava, root crops and so forth. “
Today’s workshop also looks at opportunities for more potential spices and cash crops such as ginger, turmeric, dragon fruits and others for Tonga to produce and Ma’asi hopes FAO will provide a foundation for the to set objectives for the future.
Ma’asi elaborate on the benefit of this workshop for Tonga’s horticultural sector.
“The development of the horticulture industry especially fruits and vegetables are among the core Ministry’s mandates. While it directly serves our objectives of assuring food and nutrition security for all Tongans. It makes a significant contribution to raising economic growth, employment and exports … to supporting higher quality of life for all. “
Meanwhile, a FAO representative from the United Nations – Shukrullaah Sherzad talks more about the regional workshop and its benefits for the Pacific.
“ This workshop is to brief the participants and how we can implement it because this is the starting of the project and we’ll agree with some key participants and selected for the study.”
The project will run for 2 years and will include representatives from Tongatapu, Vava’u and ‘Eua.
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