Kumara and giant yams sustaining life in Tonga

Funaki Vehekite grows food crops such as kape, taro, yam, cassava and squash at his farm in Tonga.

It allows him to support his family and keep his five children in school.

He is the secretary of a farming collective called the St Anthony of Padua group

The collective is part of Caritas Tonga’s sustainable livelihoods programme.

Caritas Aotearoa New Zealand assists with funding

The programme aims to boost the income of over 400 families in Tongatapu and Vava’u.

It provides small loans which farmers can use to set up micro-enterprises.

Community members are trained in business management, produce development and marketing.

The income they gain will allow them to become financially independent.

“We support poor farmers who cannot afford any collateral for their loans and otherwise would have no other way of acquiring financial support either from a bank or other private institution,” says Sr Senolita Vakata, director of Caritas Tonga.

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News category: Asia Pacific.

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