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Salient. Victoria University of Wellington Students' Newspaper. Volume 31, Number 18. July 30, 1968

Soil Bureau helps

Soil Bureau helps

"Over the last few years the popular image of the South Sea Islands has changed from one of blissful Utopias to one of isles in dis-stress."

Mr H. S. Gibbs of the Soil Bureau thus opened his address on "Tonga, land and people" to the Wellington branch of the Association of Scientists' monthly meeting.

Mr Gibbs outlined some of the problems facing Tonga which now made technical aid necessary.

The very rapid growth of population over the last few years, was one problem specified.

Faced with increasing unemployment, depressing trends in export prices, and having insufficient land to allocate for farms, the government was searching for alternatives, Mr Gibbs said.

It found very limited scope for forestry, mining, tourism, fishing, or developing electric power.

"Its main resources of energy were soil and man power, hence the urgent need for an inventor of the soil "

His survey of October 1967 had revealed that soils were generally good - much better than New Zealand's -but the use to which it was put was poor.

He suggested that much more intensive farming with cash crops for export could be adopted.

It was emphasised, however, that Tonga must be provided with a guaranteed market - preferably in New Zealand.

With this incentive, and a continuing supply of technical experts, Tonga could undoubtedly become another Hawaii, Mr. Gibbs concluded.