30 January 2021

Although Tonga, an archipelago in the South Pacific, has so far avoided COVID-19 cases, the pandemic has hit the economy hard along with the entire region, and helped Tongans become more resilient and less reliant on expensive food imports.

The Tonga Rural Innovation Project © IFAD/ Todd M. Henry

COVID-related travel restrictions, and increasing prices of imports, have created new challenges, on top of destructive weather events, such as tropical cyclones which can sweep over the archipelago, destroying crops and infrastructure.

UN-supported projects are encouraging the inhabitants of Tonga’s 36 inhabited islands to return to rural areas and grow food, reducing their dependence on imported products, and boost the local economy.

Initiatives include training on how to develop backyard plots, healthy eating tips, and outdoor classes where farmers learn about new plant varieties, and improved cultivation practices.

You can find out more about the International Fund for Agricultural Development’s (IFAD) work in Tonga, here.

 

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