21 May 2014

Tonga's drive to be fully organic

2:17 pm on 21 May 2014

The chair of Tonga's National Youth Congress says they hope the entire country will commit to organic farming within five years.

The Congress, with the Civil Society Forum and the Tonga National Leadership Forum, staged a public dialogue on organic farming on Tuesday.

Chairman, Drew Havea, says there was strong support from the largest island, Tongatapu, for the idea.

Ha'apai committed to organics two years ago and Mr Havea says it was relatively easy to certify whole islands there but on Tongatapu they will need to vet individual farmers and he thinks this would take about five years.

"And I think we need the strong support of Government, donors to help the farmers through this period of transition. And I think at the same time I think we need to make sure that the crop that they have has a market, which in turn will drive this to move much faster."

Drew Havea says Tonga's main export crops are squash and water melon but coconut oil is a growing market.