Tongatapu the island with the less mixed crop farming
Radio & Television Tonga News 31/07/2017
His Majesty – King Tupou VI urged growers in Tongatapu to ensure their way of farming is healthy oriented
to protect our land for future generations and one finds very little mixed crop farming system in Tongatapu. The King made the comment while officially opening Tongatapu’s Royal Agricultural Show on Saturday at the Manamo’ui Ground in ‘Atele.
The King in his address, first acknowledged God’s guidance in enabling the many blessings on his people providing them with the energy to be able to display the fruits of their hard labor .
His Majsety said, the amount of land for agricultural activities in Tongatapu is more than 60 thousand acres with 73 % of the population residing on the main island with majority in the Nuku’alofa Area.
He said, Tongatapu growers are more modernized in the system they employ because of the new technologies and resources from overseas such as tractors. fertilizers, pesticides and using underground water for irrigation.
He said growers are increasingly growing foreign types of root crops such as the Fijian tapioca which lasts longer up to two years.
His Majesty said, among the most popular crops in Tongatapu are the Hawaiian variety of sweet potatoes and yams.
He said, the prices for kava roots in ‘Eua and Vava’u have reached TIO$100,000 pa’anga per acre but the squash growers in Tongatapu had obtained millions from export of kava
His Majesty urged growers in Tongatapu not to prioritize money from their crops but must be mindful of the environmental impacts due to use of pesticides and chemicals.
He referred to underground water and how prone it is to overused pesticides. It’s estimated that 30 thousand liters of liquid pesticides and chemicals are being used annual in Tongatapu.
His Majesty said, natural disasters are on the rise in Tonga with more cyclones predicted with sea level rising.
The King said the drought in 2014 to 2016, recorded the warmest day with 34 degrees celcius.
It is predicted if the ocean temperature can reach 35 degrees or more, it will harm the coral habitats, whereas on land areas, high temperatures can damage agricultural produce including coconuts and bread fruits.
His Majesty concluded by advising growers in Tongatapu to employ wise practices in using the land for agricultural activities, animal feed and their connections in the food chain.
The King also noted the assistance from China and Thailand with various projects to assist with the agricultural sector especially with the push to consume local produce and to reduce heavy reliance on imported foods.
His Majesty thanked the Ministry of Agriculture with related stakeholders for their tireless efforts in organizing this year’s royal Agricultural Show and it was a success.
The Prime Minister – Hon. ‘Akilisi Pohiva delivered the reply to His Majesty’s address.
He said Government is working with partners to ensure healthy living and healthy lifestyle in Tonga and empowering people to sell their local produce to generate more income.
After the formalities Their Majesties King Tupou VI and Queen Nanasipau’u toured the displays of agricultural, fishery and locally made crafts and products exhibited by the islanders..
Present also at the occasion were the Crown Prince -Tupouto’a ‘Ulukalala, Crown Princess and members of the Royal Family.
It was followed by entertainment and the presentation of prizes.
© Radio & Television Tonga News