The Tonga Agriculture Policy Bank

Agriculture is the predominant economic activity in Tonga.

The sector contributes 16% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and, including forestry, provides 44% of exports. About 75% of Tonga’s population lives in rural areas, with agriculture and fisheries as their main source of livelihoods. Tonga has one of the highest rates of subsistence food production amongst Pacific Island Countries.

A total of 13,944 agriculturally active households were reported in the 2015 Agriculture Census. Over 95% of the agriculturally active households were engaged in subsistence and semi-subsistence agricultural activities with only 5% engaged in commercial activities. Handicrafts have become a major type of agriculture activity, especially in rural areas and the outer islands.

Most farmers maintain multi-crop systems based on root crops, which provide food security, employment and income. The majority of land holdings are small – eight acres or about 3.24 hectares. Agricultural land use is dominated by crop cultivation, followed by livestock activities, however about half of the agricultural land in Tonga is fallow.

Tonga’s new Agriculture Sector Plan 2016-2020 (TASP) was launched in July 2016, and is the first sector-specific plan for the country. It aligns with the Tonga Strategic Development Framework, and was guided by the objectives and priorities outlined in the National Economic Dialogue. A copy of the document can be found in this Policy Bank. The Bank also contains legislations for forestry fisheries and food security - which fall under the purview of MAFFF.
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  • KEY POLICIES

    Developed as part of Tonga’s national planning process, the Tonga Agriculture Sector Plan (TASP) presents the vision and priorities to maximise contributions from the agriculture sector to the Kingdom’s economic growth and sustained food security in the face of a changing world economy and looming climate change. TASP is expected to boost rural incomes and agriculture exports and displace meat imports.

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    Tonga Agriculture Sector Plan Summary

    This summary provides an overview of the new Tonga Agriculture Sector Plan, including Strategic Objectives and Expected Outcomes; the four key Programmes; Implementation Arrangements; and Budget.

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    Palani Sekitoa Ngoue ‘a Tonga (TASP)

    ‘Oku fakahaa’i ‘i he pepa fakama’opo’opo ko eni ‘a e fakamatala ki he Palani Sekitoa Ngoue ‘a Tonga, kau ai moe ngaahi Taumu’a Ngaue mo e ngaahi Ola Faka-ngaue; Ngaahi Tefito’i Polokalama Ngaue ‘e 4; Ngaahi Fokotu’utu’u Ngaue; pea mo e Patiseti

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    TASP Flyer Programme 1 – Climate Resilient Environment

    This flyer gives an outline of Programme 1 of the Tonga Agriculture Sector Plan – Climate Resilient Environment. Climate-resilient agricultural production systems are determined by healthy soils, secure and sustainable water supplies, diverse farming systems, and adaptive communities. Therefore this Programme focuses on building knowledge of underlying environmental conditions.

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    TASP Flyer Programme 2 – Enabling Environment

    This flyer gives an outline of Programme 2 of the Tonga Agriculture Sector Plan – Enabling Environment. This Programme focuses on improving the operating environment for the agriculture sector in terms of institutional/service capacity, soil/water policies, exports/imports & land/rural finance, international relations, governance, regulations/compliance, industry organisations and quarantine.

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    TASP Flyer Programme 3 – Sustainable Livelihoods and Healthy Foods

    This flyer gives an outline of Programme 3 of the Tonga Agriculture Sector Plan – Sustainable Livelihoods and Healthy Foods. To develop diverse, climate resilient farming systems for the Kingdom’s islands zones, this Programme focuses on improved farmers’ knowledge and technologies for climate-resilient and diversified crop and livestock production systems, and the marketing of these products.

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    TASP Flyer Programme 4 – Sustainable Economic Growth and Foreign Exchange Earnings

    This flyer gives an outline of Programme 4 of the Tonga Agriculture Sector Plan – Sustainable Economic Growth and Foreign Exchange Earnings. To increase and sustain rural incomes across the Kingdom, this Programme focuses on increased exports, and increased production of import replacement agriculture products.

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    This document provides a synopsis of the TASP, outlining the rationale & development process, context, guiding principles, programmes, expected results, implementation arrangements and budget.

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    This Corporate Plan gives an overview of the structure of MAFFF, outlines a gap analysis for each of the Divisions, and also states Key Performance Indicators for all Divisions for the years 2014/15-2016/17.

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    2015-2025
    The second Tonga Strategic Development Framework (TSDFII) builds on recent developments and the lessons learnt from TSDFI as well as increasing understanding of future uncertainties and risks.

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    2011-2014
    This document presents the government’s four year Tonga Strategic Development Framework (TSDF) and its development vision for the future: “to develop and promote a just, equitable and progressive society in which the people of Tonga enjoy good health, peace, harmony and prosperity, in meeting their aspirations in life”.

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    In 2012, the National Reserve Bank of Tonga (NRBT), in collaboration with the Government of Tonga, conducted an Economic Dialogue with the people of Tonga, providing an opportunity for them to listen, ask questions, make their voices heard, and contribute to charting the way forward for the country. This document outlines the list of strategies and specific actions consolidated from those discussions, as endorsed by the NRBT Board of Directors, and includes – Overarching strategies; Macroeconomic challenges; The role of Government; Financial Sector, Private Sector development; Agriculture; Fisheries; Tourism.

    This document was key in guiding the development of the Tonga Agriculture Sector Plan.

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    The Government of Tonga understands the significant detrimental impacts climate change and disaster risks pose to sustainable development of the country and considers these issues as high priorities. This Joint National Action Plan on Climate Change Adaptation and Disaster Risk Management has been developed to ensure that these priorities are addressed and implemented at all levels of society.

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  • SUB SECTOR STRATEGIES

    Under Development

  • LEGISLATION AND REGULATIONS

    Land in Tonga is administered by the laws defined by the Land Act of Tonga. The Kingdom of Tonga has a unique system of land ownership and management and it is important for any land agreements to be processed to the letter of the Tongan law.

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    Markets Act (1998)
    This Act gives the Minister of Agriculture, Forests and Fisheries power over the establishment and regulation of Government markets in Tonga, including appointment of Market Authorities.

    Download English version

    Download Tongan version

    Talamahu Market
    Specifies the area and boundaries of Talamahu Market.

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    Goods to be sold at Talamahu Market
    Specifies type of goods which may be sold at Talamahu Market.

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    Download Tongan version

    Market Regulations 1998

    General regulations relating to Government markets in Tonga, including management, opening hours, fees, allocation of stalls, and other controls.

    Download English version

    Download Tongan version

    Talamahu Market Regulations 1995

    Regulations specifically relating to Talamahu Market, including management, opening hours, fees, allocation of stalls, and other controls. Also includes application form for a lock-up shop or canteen licence.

    Download English version

    Download Tongan version

    Animal Diseases Act 1988

    This Act outlines controls in place relating to animal diseases, including importations, quarantine, emergency powers, compensation, inspectors, penalties, and related matters.

    Download English version

    Download Tongan version

    Animal Diseases (Amendment) Act 2002

    This document makes changes to wording and figures in the Animal Diseases Act 1988

    Download English version

    Download Tongan version

    Pounds and Animals Act 1988

    This Act gives the authority to establish pounds and impound animals; outlines how impounded and trespassing animals are to be dealt with; covers cruelty to animals; and related penalties.

    Download English version

    Download Tongan version

    Pounds and Animals (Amendment) Act 1989

    Makes minor amendment to wording in the 1988 Pounds and Animals Act.

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    Download Tongan version

    Pounds Establishment Notice

    Establishes pounds on Tongatapu and ‘Eua.

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    Download Tongan version

  • USEFUL RESOURCES

    This is the national questionnaire sheet completed by the Tonga Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Forests during the development of the Pacific Agriculture/Forestry Sector Policy Inventory.

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  • KEY POLICIES

    Food security has been recognized an important priority for Tonga, and this Framework is being developed to harmonize national approaches and provide a basis for improving multi-sectoral and multi-partnership action to address both the immediate food security issues and the broader issues around food security in Tonga. This document is currently a draft version awaiting follow up consultation.

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  • SUB SECTOR STRATEGIES

    Under Development

  • LEGISLATION AND REGULATIONS

    Food Act 2014

    An act to regulate the manufacture, sale, import and export of food for commercial purposes, to guarantee food safety and fitness for human consumption, to promote fair trade practices in food and to provide for related matters.

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    Download Tongan version

    Food Bill 2012

    A bill for an act to regulate the manufacture, sale, import and export of food for commercial purposes, to guarantee food safety and fitness for human consumption, to promote fair trade practices in food and to provide for related matters.

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  • USEFUL RESOURCES

    Under Development

  • KEY POLICIES

    Under Development

    Vanuatu Forest Policy 2013 - 2023

    The National Forest Policy sets out clear policy directives for the management of Vanuatu’s forests and forest resources for the 10 years to 2023. This includes presentation of clear policy directives that are supported by implementation strategies, as well as prioritizing implementation of each policy strategy.

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    Fiji Forest Policy Statement 2007

    The formulation of the Fiji Forest Policy is an important step in the continuous development of a National Forest Programme that strives at achieving a consensus of all stakeholders on policies and implementation measures towards conservation and sustainable management of the Nation’s forest resources, aiming at maintaining multiple values for the benefit of present and future generations alike.

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    Timor Leste Forest Policy 2007

    The National Development Plan emphasises a sustainable approach to the development and management of the forest resources of the country. It recognises that forests are important for their biological diversity and that forest conservation is a priority task in forest development planning.

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  • SUB SECTOR STRATEGIES

    Under Development

  • LEGISLATION AND REGULATIONS

    Forests Act 1988

    An Act to provide for the setting aside of areas as forest areas or reserved areas, and for the control and regulation of such areas, and of forest produce and related matters.

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    Download Tongan version

    Forest Produce Regulations 1979

    Regulates the export of forest produce, specifies which trees are regulated, and outlines penalties for non-compliance with the Regulation.

    Download Engligh version

    Download Tongan version

  • USEFUL RESOURCES

    Forests and trees make a significant contribution to the economic, environmental and social well-being of all Tongans. This Code of Practice provides practical guidelines for the sustainable management of the forests and tree resources of Tonga. Separate guidelines are available for the forestry plantations on the island of ‘Eua.

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    The forestry plantations on the island of ‘Eua are Tonga’s major source of domestic plantation timber, and occupy over 70% of the watershed for the ‘Eua water supply. The careful management of the plantations is therefore of the upmost importance for the supply of good quality water to the people of ‘Eua. This Code of Harvesting Practice for the ‘Eua forestry plantations provides practical guidelines for the conduct of forest operations within the plantations.

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    These presentations provides an overview of the ‘Eua and National Forest Codes of Practice, including purpose, principles, contents and safety.

    Stakeholder 1 presentation - Tonga's Code of Practice

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    Stakeholder 2 presentation - Tonga's Forest and Tree Resources

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  • KEY POLICIES

    The Tonga Fisheries Sector Plan (TFSP) is a framework for achieving the overall sector objective of ‘Increasing the sustainable shared benefits for the Kingdom from optimal use of its living marine resources’. It includes four components – Sustainable community fisheries; Profitable commercial fisheries and aquaculture; Public and private investment; Governance and capacity building – and outlines expected results, implementation arrangements and indicative costing.

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  • SUB SECTOR STRATEGIES

    Under Development

  • LEGISLATION AND REGULATIONS

    Fisheries Management Act 2002

    An Act to provide for the conservation, management, sustainable utilisation, and development of fisheries resources in the Kingdom of Tonga, and related matters.

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    Special Management Area Order2004

    Specifies the areas of North Minerva Reef and South Minerva Reef as Special Management Areas for conservation and manageme nt purposes, reserved exclusively for local fishing vessels of Tonga under special licenses and conditions issued by the Minister.

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    Fisheries Management (Processing and Export) Regulations 2008

    Outlines regulations relating to licensing of fish processing establishments, the export of fish and aquarium fish, and related matters. Registration and licensing forms are included.

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    Aquaculture Management Act 2003

    An Act to provide for the management and development of Aquaculture in the Kingdom of Tonga and related matters, including authorisation, general management, protection of the environment, and enforcement.

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    Maritime Zones Act 2009

    An Act to make provision for the establishment of the maritime zones of the Kingdom and in the exercise of the sovereign rights of the Kingdom and, the exploration, exploitation, protection, preservation, conservation and management of those zones, and for related matters.

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  • USEFUL RESOURCES

    Under Development

  • Download Market Access technical reports produced by PHAMA

    With a focus on horticultural and handicraft value chains, this report identifies the respective roles, responsibilities, expectations and challenges of women (and men) in Tonga and recommends specific aspects or approaches for the PHAMA or other programs to better address gender issues and in particular women’s economic empowerment. It also includes a summary of the gender context in Tonga and relevant community, donor or Government of Tonga led programs or activities aimed at addressing gender issues.

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    Tonga has a number of well-established agriproduct exporters who are interested expanding their businesses and diversifying into high value airfreighted fresh produce once the export protocols are put in place, however it is recognized that such expansion cannot take place unless there is adequate infrastructure for processing, packaging and transporting these items to market. This report was commissioned by the Tonga Market Access Working Group to assess the adequacy of present horticultural processing and marketing infrastructure in Tonga; assess options for developing improved facilities; and to prepare specifications for the preferred option.

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    This study, conducted in 2011, reviews the feasibility of Dimethoate dip as a postharvest treatment option for control of fruit fly on tomatoes for export from Tonga to Fiji (and possibly Samoa and Niue). It recommends that an access pathway only be pursued if a viable market is found to exist and if on-going use of dimethoate treatment is considered likely.  A range of specific recommendations are made for desk- and lab-based activities should this be the case.

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    This report outlines the feasibility of using the 'winter window' method for exporting watermelons from Tonga to New Zealand. The winter window is a systems approach to risk mitigation against fruit flies of economic concern, and involves only exporting commodities at specified times where the likelihood of infestation is very low. 

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    This activity has concentrated on capacity building of quarantine agencies and fumigation providers to improve technical expertise in methyl bromide fumigation practices and to provide quarantine officers with the skills required to effectively manage an accreditation framework and monitor and audit fumigation companies.

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  • SUB SECTOR STRATEGIES

    Under Development

  • LEGISLATION AND REGULATIONS

    Under Development

  • USEFUL RESOURCES

    Under Development

 
  • Download Agriculture Census

    This document provides an overview of key indicators describing the agriculture sector in Tonga. The indicators are collected for 15 Pacific islands and are regionally comparable.

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    This report provides an analysis and evaluation of the data from the 2015 Tonga National Agricultural Census, which surveyed 13,944 agriculturally active households and organizations across the country. It includes Key Findings and Recommendations as well as overviews of demography; agriculture holdings and activity levels; crops, livestock, fisheries and other activities; farm inputs, practices and challenges.

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Tonga Agriculture Statistics at a glance

Tonga Key Commodities

Root Crops

The 5 main annual crops grown in 2015 were Cassava, Yam, Yautia, Sweet Potato, Swamp Taro. Cassava plantations occupied the largest area - 10,207 acres. Cassava and sweet potato plantings increased from 2001 - 2015, while yautia, yam and swamp taro declined. Root crops represented 18% of the total value of exports from Tonga in 2014. Key markets are NZ,Australia, USA, Samoa and American Samoa.[Sources: 2015 Tonga Agriculture Census report; ITC Trade Map]

Squash

Squash represented 7% of the total value of exports from Tonga in 2014. However, exports declined significantly between 2000 and 2011, following the withdrawal of a major exporter from the market. Only 84 acres of squash were planted in 2015. The main export markets are Japan, NZ, Korea and American Samoa.

 [Sources: 2015 Tonga Agriculture Census report; ITC Trade Map]

Vanilla

632 acres of vanilla plantings were recorded in 2015, the third largest prennial crop by area behind kava and paper mulberry. Vanilla is grown primarily in the regions of Vava'u, Tongatapu and E'ua. The main export markets for Vanilla are New Zeland and the USA, with 2331kg exported in 2014.

[Sources: 2015 Tonga Agriculture Census report; ITC Trade Map]

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