Tonga’s delegation to the regional Pacific Agricultural Week regret not bringing more farm produce from home, for the Agriculture Show in Apia.
Tonga’s 7-member delegation in Samoa wish they had brought more of their farm produce after they sold almost everything on the first day of the Agriculture Show.
A senior officer with Tonga’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry Mr Maloni Havea said that they could not bring all their produce over for the Pacific Agriculture Week.
"We are showcasing some of our products and not all the products we had thought of bringing,” he said.
“ We have a lot more where we came from but we just brought what we can.”
Havea said most of their produce were sold on the first day and their popular farm produce were water melons, taamu toga, yams and sweet potatoes.
" We had customers lining in front of our tent to try and buy from us so this is very good response.
“We had people buying many watermelons and our other produce like yam and sweet potatoes were also selling fast.
"All products are first come first serve basis and we only have a few watermelons and few ‘taamu’ left I am sure will be gone in the next two days."
Havea said agriculture contributes strongly to Tonga’s GDP and it is a sector that the Tongan government is committed to building up. But a problem it is facing is the lack of interest in farming.
“ This loss of interest in farming has led to lands being abandoned and this is very sad.”
He added that the Agriculture Week is a great way to raise awareness to encourage people to get interested in farming and that farming is a profitable way of life if they work hard.
Havea is encouraged by the interest shown by the Samoans in their agriculture produce and would like to see trading opportunities between Samoa and Tonga and other countries of the region happen.
He added Niue is also one of the countries who has a huge demand for their agricultural produce.
This is the first time Tonga has taken part in the Pacific Agriculture Show and Samoa’s Agricultural Show.
The Pacific Agriculture Week is a biennial event and was first hosted by Vanuatu in 2017.