Improving non-communicable disease remediation outcomes in Tonga: the importance of domestic fruit production systems: an analysis

Steven J.R. Underhill, Lila Singh-Peterson


Non-communicable diseases (NCD) are the leading cause of mortality in the Pacific Island nation of Tonga. Current remedial strategies have focused on promoting healthy food choices based on increased intake of fruits and vegetables. While researchers seek to overcome complex social, gender and cultural practices that impede dietary transition, discontinuous domestic fruit supply chains undermine this effort. With the view to supporting a more holistic approach to NCD remediation in Tonga, this paper provides a preliminary assessment of domestic horticultural supply chains constraints, in support of diversification and expansion of local fruit production. Current impediments and constraints to enhanced local fruit production are presented and possible strategies to increased domestic fruit supply discussed. We present a case for a more consumer-centric approach to industry development, with an emphasis on production systems that are compatible with existing social structures, customary land ownership constraints, and local nutritional needs.


Pacific, Tonga, horticulture, fruit, non-communicable disease, economic empowerment, food security, mutton flaps

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