Tonga receives 200,000-plus seeds

Update: 1:44PM MORE than 200,000 tomato and capsicum seeds were handed over to the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry (MAFF) Tonga to help Tongan farmers rehabilitate crops after Tropical Cyclone Gita.

The seeds were made available from a new seed bank that was established at Hango Agriculture College, Eua, Tonga eight months ago through support by the European Union and SPC’s Agriculture Policy Program. 

MAFF deputy CEO Emanuele Moale who accepted the seeds in a handover ceremony on Eua Island last week thanked the college, SPC and the EU for making those seeds available. 

Mr Moale said the access to seeds was very critical to enable farmers on the island to get back on their feet.

He said this handover was very timely, and he congratulated the vision of the college for embarking on the seedbank venture and for assisting the government and national recovery efforts. 

According to the SPC, the seeds were only harvested from the seedbank in the months leading up to the cyclone. 

SPC Agriculture Policy Program advisor Vili Caniogo said a systematic harvesting program and training on the seedbank proved to be fortuitous given the cyclone.  

He said 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 be made available.  

“Hango has quickly adopted this systematic programming, which fortuitously has made these seeds available at this time of urgent need,” Mr Caniogo said in a statement. 

“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.” 

Over the next few months, Hango will be itself rehabilitating its crops and farms with SPC, FAO, MAFFF and other partners.