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Cattle and Sheep Integrated Production and Management Project officially launched

21/12/2017 Nuku`alofa, Tonga

The Cattle and Sheep integrated production and management Project for Tonga was recently launched by the Minister for Agriculture, Food, Forests and Fisheries (MAFFF) Hon Semisi Fakahau. The launch was followed an inception workshop which was held at Davina House.
Aimed to improve productivity of sheep and cattle for household food security, food nutrition, fighting against NCDs and maintaining sustainable livelihoods for Tonga, the project is expected to be completed in three years and has a total budget of US$294,000.
The project will be managed and implemented by MAFFF Livestock Division in collaboration with Tonga National Livestock Development Council (TNLDC) with FAO providing technical assistance under its Technical Co-operation Programme (TCP).
Speaking to more than 20 participants Hon. Fakahau stressed the importance of the cattle and sheep industry to Tonga with regards to traditional and cultural needs.
“The cattle and sheep industry are both very important in the country because of the population needs for nutritious and healthy food, traditional and cultural needs and combating the increase of Non-communicable diseases which His Majesty King Tupou VI emphasized in the opening of the NCD workshop for the Pacific Islands in June of last year in Nuku’alofa.”
He stated that livestock industry in Tonga is fragmented and undeveloped due to limited access to quality pastures and feeds, uncontrolled poor breeding, stocking animal of low productive potential, late weaning, poor husbandry and seasonal lack of feed.
Hon Fakahau said livestock industry is a very small sector in the overall agricultural economy of Tonga but it has a significant contribution to rural development and diet of the population.
He told participants that he wants this project to reach out to all lives of farmers including those in the rural areas because livestock programs are not accessible to many households in most communities.
Facilitator of the workshop, Senior Animal Health and Production Officer from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Office in Bangkok Thailand Dr. Katinka de Balogh said that since most animal in Tonga comes from a relatively small number of original number of animals, this project is timely as it will introduce new genetic materials.
Dr. Balogh said there are three major outputs of the Project: Output 1, strengthening of the capacity of MAFFF Livestock Division support for improved cattle and sheep production and productivity; Output 2 strengthening of the capacity of cattle and sheep farmers to increase productivity; and Output 3 development of dissemination of good cattle and sheep management practices.
The project’s inception workshop was designed to ensure that there is a common understanding of the project’s objectives and outputs and the roles and responsibilities among all partners. The meeting and workshop will also agree and finalize a detailed project implementation plan for the next 24 months.
Present at the occasion were FAO representative Mr. Pau Likiliki, FAO Consultant Dr. Sioisifa Fifita, FAO SAP Officer Dr. Viliami Fakava, Former CEO for MAFFF Ms. Losaline Ma’asi, Head of Livestock Division Ms. ‘Ana Pifeleti, National Project Coordinator Dr Viliami Taufa, National Consultant Mr. Toifalefehi Moala, farmers, officers from the Livestock Division and representatives from the Secretariat of the Pacific Community and Hango School of Agriculture.

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