FAO concerned about agriculture damage in Tonga

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is concerned about the devastating effects on agriculture caused by the recent volcanic eruption in Tonga. The food agency said the complete picture of the damage is only gradually emerging. With roughly 86% of Tongans engaged in agriculture, FAO is highly concerned about the potential impacts across all agriculture sectors, including fisheries, crops, and livestock. One of the first challenges for FAO is assessing the possible impact that the layer of ashfall covering parts of the island and the tsunami damage could have on agriculture and fisheries.
The agency said ashfall from the eruption could seriously affect crops and livestock. For example, root crops, such as sweet potatoes and yams, could be affected. At the same time, fruit and vegetable crops across the archipelago are also at risk. Saltwater inundation will also have likely affected farmland, and the possibility of acid rain is a concern.
Xiangjun Yao, the FAO subregional coordinator for the Pacific Islands, based in Samoa, said:
“We’re working to assess how bad the impact of this disaster will be on Tonga’s farmers and fishers and all those who depend on forms of agriculture for their livelihoods and food security. We have been providing support in Tonga after a series of shocks in recent years, of which this is by far the most serious and we are ready to ramp up our work to help these vulnerable communities get back on their feet.”

Image from David Broad
Wikimedia Commons

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