28 Jan 2014

Land soon to be cleared in Tonga's Ha'apai to regrow crops

2:08 pm on 28 January 2014

The Ministry of Agriculture in Tonga says next week it will start clearing the land to re-grow cyclone damaged crops in Ha'apai before the dry season begins in April.

Its chief executive, Losaline Ma'asi says 85 to 100 percent of food crops in some areas of Ha'apai were destroyed.

She says it is working on a medium to long-term plan to ensure food security.

"We have been looking at the land clearing which is a priority before we can do any planting. We have developed a detailed assessment form where we have a separate one for fisheries, for agriculture together with livestock and also forest, so they have conducted this detailed assessment last week and now they're putting together an analysis probably by the end of this week."

Losaline Ma'asi says it is looking to provide half an acre per household where communities can grow their own sweet potato, corn, cassava and green vegetables.

She says since the cyclone, people have been eating a lot of noodles and canned meat which could become a health concern.