4 Mar 2014

Tongan communities struggle to grow crops in swampy areas

10:02 pm on 4 March 2014

A pilot programme promoting backyard gardens and the raising of chickens is being extended in three villages in Tonga, in an effort to improve the food supply.

The Community Development Trust has been working with the villages on the main island of Tongatapu over the past three years by providing fertile soil to 20 homes, so families could establish their own gardens.

The Trust's executive director Sione Faka'osi says they also promoted poultry farming by providing local chickens, fences and posts.

He says after consulting more widely with the villages last year, they found many families are struggling, particularly because conditions aren't good for growing.

"Their environment is not conducive for planting in their home allotments because the conditions of these villages are mostly swampy and some of these homes are not only low-income but they don't have access to plantation or land for planting food."

Sione Faka'osi says they are preparing to scale up the programme to at least 100 homes from each village over the next two years.