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More Negative impacts predicted on the Agricultural sector from El Nino developing in Tonga

Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 12/04/2017

It is predicted there will be more negative impacts on the agricultural sector and animals if Tonga will face another prolonged drought season.

This follows Tonga’s Met Office reports that around 50 percent of El Nino developing this year.

CEO of Agriculture – Dr. Viliami Manu said growers are still trying to recover from the negative impacts of the previous El Nino in 2015 and IF the prolonged drought season happens again the impacts will be on the rise.

For instance, the Tongan kava roots on the markets are already expensive and if El Nino occurs mid-year, the prices will be increased further even up to TOP$200.00 pa’anga per kilo.

Ripe Coconuts are still scarce and there will be fewer in the future.  The vegetables will also be impacted and other crops and fruits.

He urged growers to mix their plantation and to grow more sweet potatoes, cassava, pineapple and crops because they can withstand the impacts of the prolonged drought season.

Animals on the other hand were also impacted from the last El Nino, especially cows, farmers had to reduce the number of cows in their farms because there was not much rain and grass for their daily consumption.

Tonga’s MET office on their monthly report advised the people especially for the smaller islands to use water wisely and collect as much rain water as possible.

The office also reported the maximum temperature of 34.7 recorded in Niuafo’ou and the lowest temperature was 18.8 degrees celcius in Nuku’alofa.

It is 37% predicted that the amount of rainfall recorded for Nuku’alofa will be averaged during the next three months.

© Radio and Television Tonga News