MEDIA RELEASE: “Lord Tu`ilakepa delivers Tonga`s National Statement at the UN Food Systems Pre-Summit”

Thursday, July 29th, 2021

Lord Tu’ilakepa, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Forestry

GOVERNMENT OF TONGA

MEDIA RELEASE

“Lord Tu’ilakepa delivers Tonga’s National Statement at the UN Food Systems Pre-Summit”

Back Row : Mr. Pau Likiliki ( FAO’s Representative), Mrs. Leody Vainikolo (Acting CEO, Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forests), Mr. Sione Hufanga (United Nation Country Coordination Specialist), Mr. ‘Isileli ‘Aholelei (Head of Food Division, Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forests), Dr. Siola’a Malimali (Deputy CEO, Ministry of Fisheries), Dr. Vailala Matoto (National Food System Consultant)
Front Row : Lord Tu’ilakepa, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Forests

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forests and Minister for Fisheries who is also the UN Convener for the Tonga National Food System Summit Dialogue; delivered Tonga’s National Statement at the Pre-Summit of the UN Food Systems Summit. 

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and Forests and Minister for Fisheries who is also the UN Convener for the Tonga National Food System Summit Dialogue; delivered Tonga’s National Statement at the Pre-Summit of the UN Food Systems Summit. 

The pre-summit hosts by the headquarters of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in Rome from 26-28July, 2021. 

Lord Tu`ilakepa said,

From the outset of 2021, Tonga is faced with the common Global challenges of the pandemic Covid-19, Non-Communicable Diseases, or NCDs, and changes to our climate. These challenges have already severely affected 10% of our local businesses, and we are living in the most critical era. Therefore, the Kingdom of Tonga is insisting that UN members must work arm in arm to help mitigate these global crises”.

The Minister added that Food System and Nutritious Food is very important for Tonga.

“Tonga is one of the very few lucky countries that is still free from Covid-19. However, we are being victimized by NCDs since the last few decades. More than 70% mortality is from NCDs, therefore, the subject of Food System and Nutritious Food is very important for our people if we need to decrease the sky high rates of NCDs”.

Lord Tu`ilakepa took the opportunity to highlight on the outcomes of the National Food System Dialogue:

“Tonga is a small country with a population of over 100,000. Our Economy is characterized by its smallness, vulnerability to external shocks, and isolation from international markets, even though we have rich soils and marine resources. Tonga has about 15,000 households, and more than 90% of the households are engaged one way or another on Food System Activities.  Therefore, the outcomes of the National Dialogue on Food System Summit stresses special developments on these production sectors and the processing sector to ensure:

1) food security and nutritious food; 

2) people are educated to understand how eating nutritious food helps minimize NCDs;

3) that Food System development is friendly to our Environment,

4) that Food System development will create employment and to assist the most vulnerability groups      in society – it should promote Equity; and

5) Tonga’s Food Systems are available at all times to minimise internal and external shocks”.

In conclusion, Lord Tu`ilakepaoutline Tonga’s response to food systems challenges:

“In order for Tonga’s Food System to successfully transform and to achieve Development Goals, we also need these as cross cutting across all the sectors;

1.  Access to financial resources to implement the transformation

2.  Technical assistance to review and update relevant policies and legislations

3.  Strong awareness program to educate the public and drive the transformation

4.  Develop and strengthen research and development in all these areas to make sure our endeavours are always up-to-date and reflect any change to lifestyle, environment, climate, etc.”

“I would also like to add that prior to the Global Food System Summit Dialogue in September, Tonga will complete its Action Plan by developing relevant Strategies and Activities”. 

-ENDS-


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