According to countryaah, Tonga has for a long time had a weak economy, mainly due to severe weather that damaged export crops, high unemployment and inflation and extensive relocation. Agriculture accounts for just over 30 percent of employment. The most important forage crops are pumpkins, vanilla and coconuts, which for most years make up the bulk of Tonga’s exports. For personal consumption, root vegetables, breads, watermelons, vegetables, citrus fruits and peanuts are grown.
The industry accounts for about 30 percent of employment. Primarily, building materials, clothing, furniture, sports equipment, beer and coconut oil and craft products are produced. To reduce the need to import fuel, a wave power plant was built in the early 1990s. Tourism makes a significant contribution to the economy and reduces the trade deficit. New Zealand, Japan, Australia, Fiji and the United States are the most important trading partners. Mainly, food, industrial semi-finished products, machinery, transport and fuels are imported.
During the 1990s, Tonga sought new sources of income and energy, and tried to develop fishing and pear farming and to find foreign investors to the processing industries, but the contributions from Tongans abroad account for a large part of the country’s economy.