Tuesday, May 16th, 2017
Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations Sub Regional Coordinator, Her Excellency, Ms Eriko Hibi visited the Kingdom on the 8th May 2017 for three main reasons:
The FAO office in the Pacific is located in Apia Samoa. The Head of this office is known as the FAO Sub Regional Coordinator or simply as SRC. In September 2016, Her Excellency, Ms Eriko Hibi became the new SRC (Sub Regional Coordinator) for the Pacific after serving as the FAO Representative for Syria for many years. The SRC has the Official Capacity to be FAO’s Official Representative of FAO to its 14 member countries in the Pacific including Tonga. Her Excellency Ms Eriko Hibi presented her credentials to the Hon Prime Minister of Tonga, Hon. Samuela Akilisi Pohiva on Wednesday 11th May 2017 at the Prime Minister’s Office and accompanied by the Assistance FAO Representative to Tonga Mr. Pau Molevuka Likiliki.
Her Excellency, Ms Eriko Hibi was able to launch two project sites for FAO’s four year assistance to Tonga. The two pilot sites were HavelulikuTongatapu and Ta’anga inEua. Her Excellencywas able to visit the FAO project’s demonstration site in Tupou College and Hango Agriculture College. Her Excellency also flew to Eua to launch the project site in Taanga and also visited the Eua Watershed, the Aotearoa Tonga Forestry nursery. The Integrated Land and Agro-ecosystem Management system (ILAMS) is funded by the Global Environment Facility(GEF) and FAO has one pilot site in Tongatapu (Haveluliku), Vava’u (Mangia), Haapai (Pukotala) and Eua (Taanga).
Her Excellency visited other Technical assistance sites that FAO is assisting the government of Tonga including an aquaculture site farming milkfish (Ava) in Sopu and visited the Ministry of Fisheries Aquaculture Centre. Her Excellency visited the Livestock Office and discussed future plans with the Livestock Council about assistance to be implemented in the coming months for Cattle and Sheep Production. Her Excellency was able to visit the Women’s groups and their Sinaitakala flower nurseries. The Sinaitakala is a flower that FAO had safely introduced to Tonga to be used by Women for their livelihood in the communities. Also in the many site visits included nurseries of the Forestry Division in Tokomololo to see the coconut re-seeding and other ornamental plants.
Her Excellency was also very happy to meet the Minister and CEO for Health, Hon. Saia Piukala and the Minister and CEO for Education and Training, Hon. Penisimani Fifita to build new partnership in the areas of Nutrition and Food in the fight against NCDs. Her Excellency also found time to meet with Tonga Health and how FAO can provide value in to their activities. Her Excellency had the opportunity to discuss FAO work with other NGOs and other Women’s Group in their work in Handicrafts and small home vegetable gardens. Her Excellency also discussed the Tonga Agriculture Sector Plan with the deputy chair of the Tonga Agriculture Growth Committee, Afeaki. Her Excellency was thankful to see the growth of the Fantastic Sheep introduced by FAO in the early 2000s. There was a remarkable growth sustained in Tupou College and Hango Agriculture College in their livestock.
Her Excellency is very thankful that she had discussed at length further opportunities for Tonga with the Minister of Agriculture Food Forestry and Fisheries Hon. Semisi Fakahau.
Her Excellency Ms Eriko Hibi left Tonga on Saturday night 13th May 2017.