Forest and Trees

Forests and trees play significant roles in the lives of Pacific Islanders, economically, socially, culturally and environmentally. In many Pacific island countries, especially on the smaller islands and atolls, agroforestry and tree crops provide most of the food, medicines, construction materials, firewood, tools and myriad of other products and services that cannot be replaced with imported substitutions. For the larger countries, forests have contributed significantly into their economic development in terms of foreign exchange earnings, employment and infrastructure development. Thus, a major challenge for Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs) is to ensure sustainable management of their scarce and diminishing forest and tree resources, taking into account demands for economic development and the social and environmental needs of their growing populations, LRD-SPC is addressing this under its Forest & Tree programme.

SPC supports agroforestry in Tonga
Tuesday, 05 August 2014 13:48

Hango College students trying out vegetative propagation.‘I’m totally convinced by the concept of agroforestry and I want similar training for all extension officers in my ministry.’

These were the sentiments expressed by the Chief Executive Officer of Tonga’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food, Forests and Fisheries (MAFFF), Mrs Losaline Ma’asi, who participated in a two-day (30th & 31st July) agroforestry training conducted by SPC at Hango Agricultural College in Eua, Tonga.

‘I supported this training and personally got involved, as I knew we could all benefit from it and gain knowledge and skills that could make a difference in our lives and those of the clients we serve.

‘Understanding the concepts and benefits of agroforestry can help the participants to utilise locally available food crops, tree species and livestock to develop a good farming system,’ Mrs Ma’asi explained.

She noted that agroforestry has been in use for decades and there have been trials of various systems in order to identify ones that are appropriate in different environments and locations in Tonga.

Mrs Ma’asi also mentioned that she will work very closely with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) in organising similar training for MAFFF extension staff based in Tongatapu and Vava'u.

More than fifty participants, comprising final year students and teachers from Hango Agriculture College, farmers from the USAID Climate Change Pilot Project in Houma, MAFFF staff, and members of the Petani Women’s Food Security and Climate Change Project attended the training, which was conducted by two SPC staff: Cenon Padolina and Vinesh Prasad.

Established in 1968, Hango Agriculture College began by training farmers who were involved in crop and livestock farming but later it was transformed into a diploma-level agricultural institute for students who wanted to pursue a career in the agriculture sector.

The college, which is fully accredited by the University of the South Pacific, also enrols students from Vanuatu; they make up 40% of the student population.

The Sustainable Resource Management Programme of SPC's Land Resources Division has financially and technically supported the college to establish agroforestry demonstration plots on a twenty-acre site within the college area and teach students about sustainable farming systems and the skills they need for agroforestry, which is now part of the curriculum. SPC has pledged to continue its support in providing teaching assistance and practical expertise to the college.

The agroforestry training is part of the initiative entitled Enhanced Climate Change Resilience of Food Production Systems in Pacific Island Countries and Territories, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

The project harnesses an innovative partnership between two SPC divisions, the Applied Geoscience and Technology Division and the Land Resources Division.

SPC and USAID, in collaboration with partner agencies, are supporting the governments of six Pacific Island countries – Fiji, Kiribati, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu – in their efforts to tackle the adverse effects of climate change on food production.

[Ends]

Photo Caption: Students of Hango College trying out vegetative propagation.

(For more information and media queries, please contact Mr Vinesh Prasad on email ID This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it --- +679 3370773, alternatively, for any further queries, you may contact the LRD helpdesk This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .)

 

We acknowledge our major donors/partners in supporting Forestry initiatives in the Pacific