Mayors, executive officers and agriculture managers from the southern islands of Aitutaki, Atiu, Mangaia, Mitiaro, Mauke attended the four-day conference with each island presenting its reports.
The seminar focused on three main areas: food security and nutrition, agriculture/tourism and market development opportunities and strengthening in the Pa Enua, the schools, and for women and emerging farmers.
Discussions and updates were held on: The Bio security border and invasive/surveillance three year development programme, Pa Enua Action for Resilient Livelihoods (PEARL) project (water, disaster, agriculture update), research, extension and livestock service and policy planning and projects.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Pa Enua that covers all areas such as biosecurity, crop research, advisory services, policy and projects was signed last year.
This agreement allows the ministry and its partners to work directly with each agriculture department in the Pa Enua aimed at achieving part of the country’s National Sustainable Development Plan (NSDP).
Each year meetings are held with each island, and an update on their agricultural status and strategic plans are presented.
“Presently we (Pa Enua) are not yet looking at exporting, the focus is on being able to grow to meet the needs of their own islands,” said director of Policy and Projects, Takili Tairi.
“Agriculture today is different from the past due to several things such as climate change, economics, business proposals, marketing the products …
“Since 1996 to today, we have methodologies in planting, invented by the growers themselves.
“We look at reviewing and adjusting our plans, relooking at our programmes - is it working or not, what the best outcomes are expected, the finalised agendas and projects that have been approved; we can now see how the progress is.
“So far it has been great, the feedback has been positive and people are happy with the programme and find it useful.”