Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 


$20 million in damage to Tonga’s agriculture and fisheries

Cyclone damage to Tonga’s agriculture and fisheries exceeds $20 million

Support needed to restore livelihoods after food crops, fruit trees and fishing gear destroyed by Tropical Cylcone Ian

Nuku´alofa, Tonga/Apia, Samoa, 4 March 2014 -- A joint report by Tonga’s Ministry of Agriculture and Food, Forests and Fisheries (MAFFF) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) has found that Tropical Cyclone Ian caused $20.6 million of damage and losses to Tonga’s agriculture and fisheries sectors.

The category 5 cyclone, which made landfall on January 11, caused near total damage to household food crops, fruit trees and fishing gear in the country’s Ha’apai island group. A total of 950 households have been affected. Recovery is expected to take up to two years, with an investment of $2.2 million required in the next few months to jump-start the process.

Cyclone damage has been particularly devastating to crops such as cassava and bananas, a staple food for all of the affected households. Fishing households have also been hard hit, with $1.3 million of damage to equipment, including boats, motors and fishing gear. The survey found that 100% of fishing gear had been damaged, meaning that even those households whose boats are intact cannot resume fishing. Trees were also damaged, affecting both food supply and household access to cash.

A multi-disciplinary team made up of representatives from MAFFF, the Fisheries National Council, FAO, MORDI Tonga Trust, Oxfam and the Tonga National Youth Congress conducted the damage survey.
Within two weeks following the cyclone, MAFFF began providing inputs from its own stocks to the islands, and has thus far , distributed sweet potato cuttings and corn seeds to more than 750 households, with additional assistance provided by the Government of New Zealand.

Other recovery actions include ploughing over 100 acres of farmland and town allotments, with around 40 acres planted with corn and sweet potato; the distribution of vegetable seeds jointly by the Ministry, Caritas and Tonga Community Development Trust to fifteen communities; and demonstrations in affected communities on healthy cooking using available food aid and local produce.

The Ministry continues to provide national-level leadership of the Food Security and Livelihoods cluster, in close consultation with the National Emergency Management Office, humanitarian stakeholders and development partners.

“The impact of Cyclone Ian has been devastating for the agricultural economy and livelihoods of people in Ha’apai,” said Sione Sangster Saulala, Minister for Agriculture and Food, Forests and Fisheries.
“The speed of initial recovery efforts has been commendable, but additional resources are needed to meet the food security needs of those in affected areas and to restore the livelihoods of hundreds of farming and fishing households.”

Gavin Wall, FAO sub-regional coordinator for the Pacific, said: “FAO, both in its capacity as lead agency of the Pacific Food Security Cluster and as a direct partner of the Ministry, was pleased to provide immediate support to the Government of Tonga. .Following three missions to assist with assessment and coordination, we are now focusing our efforts on working with the Ministry and partners to provide technical expertise for rehabilitation interventions that support recovery and build increased resilience for the future.”

Even with international assistance, total recovery is expected to take time. Surviving fruit-bearing trees will take up to two years to return to normal harvest levels, and newly planted trees to act as a barrier in future cyclones along coastal areas will take several more years to reach maturity.

Of particular importance is the replanting of pandanus and paper-mulberry trees, an economic and cultural mainstay of the islands, whose leaves are used to weave highly-prized mats and other crafts for local and international markets. The women of Ha’apai are renowned throughout the Pacific and beyond as some of the finest weavers in the region.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

Royals: The Prince Of Wales And Duchess Of Cornwall To Visit

Prime Minister John Key welcomes today’s announcement that the Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall will visit New Zealand in November. This will be the second joint visit for Their Royal Highnesses to New Zealand. More>>

ALSO:

Tracey Martin Replaced: Ron Mark Is New New Zealand First Deputy Leader

Clayton Mitchell was the successful candidate for the Associate Whip position. Winston Peters was re-elected as Leader by the Caucus. Ron Mark was elected as the Deputy Leader with effect from 10am, Friday, 3rd July. More>>

ALSO:

Rebuild Rebrand: "Regenerate Christchurch" To Replace CERA

The regeneration of Christchurch will be the city’s focus for the next five years as local leadership progressively takes control of the rebuild, Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee says. More>>

ALSO:

Nauru: Scholars Urge Minister To Act On Deteriorating Democracy

“Since the 2013 election in Nauru, there has been a series of disturbing developments on the islands that indicate a severe deterioration in the state of its parliamentary democracy and in the rule of law,” say the scholars. More>>

ALSO:

Foreign Affairs: NZ Begins Presidency Of UN Security Council

Prime Minister John Key has welcomed the start of New Zealand’s month-long Presidency of the United Nations Security Council in New York. More>>

ALSO:

Labour: Cash For Charter Schools, Mould For State Schools

“Recently released financial statements show the Whangarei charter school He Puna Marama received $3.9 million in government funding to the end of last year. Yet their audited accounts show they only spent $1.4 million on education, leaving almost $2.5 million over two years unaccounted for." More>>

ALSO:

Kiwirail Plans Shift From Electric: National Urged Not To Take Backwards Step

The National Government shouldn’t drag New Zealand backwards by replacing its climate friendly electric trains with carbon-polluting diesel trains, the Green Party said today. More>>

ALSO:

Capital Connection:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news