29 Feb 2016

Tonga to ban some imported meats to help curb NCD epidemic

3:43 pm on 29 February 2016

The Tongan government is looking at banning some fatty imported meats to try and curb the epidemic of lifestyle diseases in the country and encourage local livestock farming.

Meat being cut up on chopping board.

Photo: 123RF

The CEO of Tonga's department of Agriculture said a chinese-funded livestock farming project was helping decrease reliance on imported meats.

The organically farmed meats, which tend to be leaner, are seen as a healthier option than many imported meats.

Losaline Ma'asi said Tonga currently spends around US$18 million a year on imported meats but the government wanted to see imports reduced.

"We are encouraging - from the agricultural sector - encourage the household to raise their own piggery, chickens, ducklings - to assist them especially with the consumption so that they could save some money. Or sell them at the market to get extra income for their other obligations."

Losaline Ma'asi said Tonga needed to develop regulations and infrastructure around the meat industry before banning imports.