Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Learning Journal 14

Taro Crop
I began looking up information in Tongan newspapers just to get an idea of some of the topics discussed locally. Searching through those I came across several articles on agriculture, one of which is called "Agriculture Still Tongan Economy's Last Hope" by Josephine Latu. It was written in October 2010, which is much more recent than a few other studies on landscape/agriculture I've found online in various journals. The article provided an interesting look at this sector in the economy and its potential for raising revenue for the country. Currently "the Agriculture and Fishing sector made up 19.9% of Tonga’s GDP in 2009/10, making it the biggest contributor to the economy." Some of the main problems they face is meeting the standards to export agricultural products to other countries. Several projects are underway including a fumigation chamber for insect control and a packaging facility to improve shipment and quality. There are many areas of the kingdom getting on board with this more defined solution to improving the economy. For one, "the Education department is looking at modifying school syllabi to promote farming skills, along with other vocational and technical training to better serve the needs of the private sector." This would add a lot of value to the country as it provides specific skills to a broad range of people. Even those who engage in other professions could benefit from the knowledge in raising a small crop of food for family. This will also be able to improve the labor sector as well. "Agriculture is really the only sector that can provide work for such a large section of the population." Even though I was under the impression that unemployment was relatively low according to the most recent census, improvements in the labor sector tend to demonstrate improvement in the economy from what little I understand about economics. This shift in focus could mean a lot for the kingdom. It also means that there is a growing interest in landscape management (if its actually moving forward) and could prove valuable for individual landscapes as an integral part of function and space.

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