Tuvalu has limited services and supplies; the country is isolated, almost entirely dependent on imports, particularly of food and fuel. The public sector dominates economic activity. Earnings from fish exports, fishing licenses for Tuvalu’s territorial waters and marketing of Tuvalu's internet domain name '.tv' are a significant source of government revenue. Copra is and additional export earner.
In 2020 the Government of Tuvalu provided $300K in grants to lend out to smallholder agricultural producers to increase their production, and retailers to increase their stock.
An integration of the Tuvalu Healthy Food Strategy and the Tuvalu Food System Pathways, co-lead by the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Local Government and Agriculture focuses on increasing the production, distribution, marketing and value-adding of local products through;
- Food Bank Mechanism - domestic trade of local products from outer islands
- Half-Acre Initiative - setting up of nurseries the size of half-acre on all islands in Tuvalu to increase the supply of seedlings, carry out research to support smallholder farmers in rural areas.
- Specialisation of Products per Island:
- Short-Term Strategy: conduct assessment on products that each island can specialise and mass-produce. $945K has been secured to implement this strategy.
- Long-Term Strategy: Development Bank of Tuvalu and Department of Business will support the creation of farmers’ cooperatives to implement specialisation, mass production and inter-island trade.
Implementation is underway, with the recruitment of a Local Coordinator (based at the Ministry of Local Government & Agriculture) and Island Support Officers (based at each Kaupule).
In 2020, the Government of Tuvalu funded and supported the revitalization of NAFICOT with the support of development partners focusing on supplying value-adding fish-products supplied by commercial and artisanal fishermen on Funafuti. It has a long-term vision of setting-up a tuna-canning production facility.
Through The Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) Phase 2 Project, the Department of Trade is providing support to small-holder farmers through the provision of materials, tools and capacity-building programs to increase local production of Tuvaluan products for export purposes. It has also supported the country’s move to e-commerce.