Monday, March 26th, 2018
Over 200,000 tomato and capsicum seeds were handed over to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFFF) Tonga to help Tongan farmers rehabilitate crops after Cyclone Gita. The seeds were made available from a new seedbank that was established at Hango Agriculture College, Eua, Tonga six months ago through support by the European Union and SPCs Agriculture Policy Program.
Accepting the seeds in a handover ceremony on Eua this week, Mr Imanuela Moale, Director MAFFF thanked the College, SPC and the EU for making these seeds available. He stated that access to seeds was very critical to enable farmers to get back on their feet and that this handover was very timely. He congratulated the vision of the College for embarking on the seedbank venture and for assisting the Government and national recovery efforts.
The seeds were only harvested from the seedbank in the months leading up to the Cyclone.
Mr Vili Caniogo, Adviser SPC Agriculture Policy Program stated that a systematic harvesting program and training on the seedbank proved to be fortuitous given the Cyclone. He stated that the College and the SPC team established the seedbank only in the last eight months with phased harvest timelines, which enabled this batch of seeds to made available.
“Hango has quickly adopted this systematic programming which fortuitously has made these seeds available at this time of urgent need.
A key intention of the seedbank at the start was always to complement Government seed services and as such, Hango College has done extremely well”.
The Principal of Hango Agriculture College, Reverend Finau stated that College had a vision to excel in providing agricultural services and education for Tonga’s youths in line with national development goals.
He stated that the College was happy to directly assist farmers and the Government.
Over the next few months, Hango will be itself rehabilitating its crops and farms with SPC, FAO, MAFFF and other partners.
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