Organics in Tonga

Helping farmers flourish

Tonga National Youth Congress (TNYC) has certified 54 organic farming projects in Tonga. Organic farms generate good returns for farmers, as organic products earn more at market. Increasing the number of organic farming projects means increasing the number of people leaving poverty.

The popularity of Oxfam and TNYC's organics and virgin coconut oil programmes has led to more than 600 projects being registered on TNYC's waiting list for organic accreditation.

This surge of interest has created an increase in the demand for people to support and implement this growth and it’s essential that Oxfam can sustain this route out of poverty.

Oxfam is:

  • Providing equipment and expertise to organic grower groups, enabling them to build their businesses over time
  • Training local people with farm and business management skills, ensuring they have the skills to run, expand and market their ventures
  • Teaching grower groups about organic pesticides and composting, creating a more environmentally-conscious method of farming
  • Encouraging and overseeing TNYC staff visits to coconut oil sites across Tonga, so that experience and ideas can be shared
  • Organising field trips to Samoa to learn from similar schemes operating there, including with Oxfam partner WIBDI
  • Helping to establish a marketing and export strategy for organic grower groups, which includes working with local people on creating a label and logo for the products, and publicising products through the media. This will result in more demand for virgin coconut oil and increase incomes for farmers

Reaping the benefits

Tonga is organically producing commercial crops that include coconuts, vanilla, coffee, lady’s finger bananas and chilli peppers.

Many young people have now acquired skills and moved on into full-time employment. There is room for growth in the organic sector, with opportunities for organic products in tourism and hospitality.

Organic production has helped maintain and increase long-term soil fertility, which is hugely important in Pacific atolls like Tonga, where soil quality is generally thin and poor.

Sustainable agricultural practices are aligned with Tonga’s commitment to reducing the impact of climate change on low-lying Pacific nations.

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