Pacific Agriculture Policy Project
In contrast to the lack of visibility accorded to Tonga’s Agriculture
sector in mainstream media, the Tongan economy attributes approximately 23%
of its annual GDP1 to the sector with over 60% of its population involved to
some extent in farming or agriculture based activities.
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in its promotion
of country-level policy engagement, identifies several factors as
contributing to stagnant growth of Tonga’s Agriculture sector (between 2005
and 2012) which included outmigration of rural populations and an ageing
The Tonga Agriculture Sector Plan (TASP), presents the vision and priorities
of the sector to contribute to Tonga’s economic growth and sustained food
security in light of changing world economic factors, and climate change. The
TASP informs policy dialogue amongst a range of stakeholders from both the
public and private sectors. The TASP will also be the focus of donor
discussions during a roundtable coordinated by Tonga’s Ministry of Finance
in July, 2016.
Media as a significant stakeholder group in policy engagement amongst key
public and private stakeholders, is undervalued. In consultation with the
Pacific Islands News Association, it was determined that there has been no
previous capacity building of media in either Tonga or the Pacific region, to
either access information available on agriculture policy or to effectively
report on the sector.
In Communications for Development, Media has the potential to promote (as
well as attract)development aid and the impacts of development assistance, to
empower citizens at the community level such as farmers to effectively
contribute to policy dialogue, to coordinate and support information
dissemination by communications professionals and development partners, and
to support implementation of development assistance by making information on
this more accessible through to the grassroots level.
The establishment of the first online repository for agriculture policy in
the Pacific, the Agriculture Policy Banks (APBs) for each of the 15 Pacific
ACP countries by the Pacific Agriculture Policy Project (PAPP) is a key
mechanism warranting more effective exchange of information and national
outreach on agricultural policy.