Media Release: Tongatapu, Tonga – August 8, 2023
In a significant step towards sustainable agricultural practices and fostering a healthier lifestyle, Tonga proudly announces the successful launch of not one, but two Organic Learning Farms. The inauguration ceremony, held at Mahuleva in Tongatapu, was graced by the esteemed presence of the CEO of the Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Viliami Manu, as the guest of honour. The launch was also attended by as well as distinguished guests from neighbouring Pacific nations , local farmers, youth, and non-governmental organization, showcasing Tonga’s commitment to the regional network, the Pacific Organic Learning Farms Network (POLFN) of establishing organic learning farms across Nauru, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Fiji.
Speaking on behalf of the Kiwa Initiative, the French Ambassador to the Pacific, Mr Francois-Xavier Leger in his opening remarks, highlighted the regional impact of Tonga’s endeavours.
The launch of the two organic learning farm centres are supported by the Kiwa Initiative. The Kiwa Initiative is funded by the European Union, Agence française de développement (AFD), Global Affairs Canada (GAC), Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT). It’s implementing partners in the region – the Pacific Community (SPC), the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) and the Oceania Regional Office of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
The Mahuleva farm in Tongatapu, and the Ovava farm in Vava’u, are the two learning farm centres established in Tonga under the POLFN project. Both farms have a passion for empowering youth in their communities to be more engaged in agriculture. Mahuleva Farmer, Mr Navuso Tuaimeiapi shared, “Empowering youth to take a leading role in shaping their future is another fundamental goal of Mahuleva Farm. We provide opportunities for young individuals to engage in hands-on farming experiences, fostering their skills and knowledge in sustainable agriculture. By offering mentorship programs and training sessions, we aim to equip the youth with the tools necessary to become the next generation of environmental stewards and community leaders.”
These groundbreaking projects herald a new era in Tonga’s agricultural landscape, emphasizing organic methods that harness the natural resources and cycles of the land to produce high-quality yields.
Following the program’s official launch, the guest of honor and all participants were invited to embark on an immersive tour of the Organic Learning Farms. The insightful tour showcased the farms’ state-of-the-art facilities designed to facilitate teaching and organic farming practices. The visitors had the opportunity to witness firsthand the innovative methodologies that will serve as the cornerstone of Tonga’s agricultural transformation.