Itaia Lausaveve

Chair - Tuvalu Chapter

A retired public servant in the government of Tuvalu for over 30 years, Itaia’s focal area of interest remains Atoll Sustainable Farming Systems, that enhance agricultural production for food security.  Moreover these stimulate rural economies to contribute to national economic growth and create rural employment opportunities, which remains an ongoing challenge throughout the Pacific.

Professional Experience

As Director of Agriculture he oversaw Elisefou Agriculture Station on Vaitupu Island, where agricultural research was conducted on annual crops, livestock and tree crops. Additionally Itaia held senior posts in Plant Quarantine & Protection and Agricultural Extension & Information. His vast exposure to regional and international meetings helped Itaia build his capacity in leading national consultations and negotiations.

Itaia managed the FAO Regional Food Security Program and FAO Tele-Food projects on home gardening. Other projects that saw his involvement and leadership are the EU-funded Development of Sustainable Agriculture Program and Global Climate Change Adaptation (Pacific Adaptation for Small Island States on Atoll Agroforestry Development). Including these major regional projects, totaling US$3 million, Itaia also controlled the US$0.5 million renovation of Elisefou Agricultural Station.

In his role as key advisor to the Minister, he participated in negotiations to establish the multimillion dollar Horticulture Taiwan project on Vaitupu.

External Appointments

taia was the Agricultural Liaison Officer of the Institute of Research, Extension & Training in Agriculture of the University of the South Pacific (Samoa campus). Here he facilitated and coordinated agricultural activities in Tuvalu and provided narrative progress reports.

As National Consultant for FAO Tuvalu, Itaia coordinated and monitored several FAO funded projects in Tuvalu, reporting back to the FAO Pacific sub-regional office in Samoa.


Itaia graduated from the University of the South Pacific with a Diploma in Tropical Agriculture, majoring in Horticulture & Soils.

Country Report

In 1974, ethnic differences within the British colony of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands caused the Polynesians of the Ellice Islands to vote for separation from the Micronesians of the Gilbert Islands. The following year, the Ellice Islands became the separate British colony of Tuvalu. Independence was granted in 1978. In 2000, Tuvalu negotiated a contract leasing its Internet domain name “.tv” for $50 million in royalties over a 12- year period. The agreement was subsequently renegotiated but details were not disclosed. Tuvalu hosted the Pacific Islands Forum Leaders Meeting in August 2019.


Oceania, island group consisting of nine coral atolls in the South Pacific Ocean, about half way from Hawaii to Australia.


Land Mass

26 km2

Official Languages

English, Tuvaluan

Population (2019)


Head of State

Kausea Natano

Land Mass Population Capital



Unitary Parliamentary Monarchy


Tuvalu consists of a densely populated, scattered group of nine coral atolls with poor soil. Only eight of the atolls are inhabited. It is one of the smallest countries in the world, with its highest point at 4.6 meters above sea level. The country is isolated, almost entirely dependent on imports, particularly of food and fuel, and vulnerable to climate change and rising sea levels, which pose significant challenges to development.

The public sector dominates economic activity. Tuvalu has few natural resources, except for its fisheries. Earnings from fish exports and fishing licenses for Tuvalu’s territorial waters are a significant source of government revenue. In 2013, revenue from fishing licenses doubled and totaled more than 45% of GDP. Official aid from foreign development partners has also increased. Tuvalu has substantial assets abroad. The Tuvalu Trust Fund, an international trust fund established in 1987 by development partners, has grown to $104 million (A$141 million) in 2014 and is an important cushion for meeting shortfalls in the government’s budget. While remittances are another substantial source of income, the value of remittances has declined since the 2008-09 global financial crisis, but has stabilized at nearly $4 million per year. The financial impact of climate change and the cost of climate related adaptation projects is one of many concerns for the nation.

Gross Domestic Product

USD 42 million total
USD 3,800 per capita


Tuvaluan Dollar (TVD)


USD 600,000

Population below poverty line


Import - Partners

USA 18.2%
Bosnia/Herzegovina 17%
Fiji 14.8%
Nigeria 14.2%
Germany 8.2%
South Africa 5.9%
Colombia 5.1%

Export - Partners

Singapore 33.4%
South Korea 11.5%
Australia 10.8%
New Zealand 8%
Fiji 7.5%
Chile 6.1
South Africa 5%
Japan 5%

Public Debt

37% of GDP

IDD Country Code