All natural resources including agricultural land is the main source of economic wellbeing.
With depopulation becoming an issue for the Pa Enua, teaching children about growing their own food is an important way to work together as a community.
Under the Adaptation Fund of the Pa Enua for Resilient Livelihoods (PEARL) Project, a new nursery was completed and handed over to the Atiu Island Council and community by Minister for Agriculture Rose Brown.
The nursery is located next to Enuamanu School and across the road from the agriculture crop bank.
PEARL Agriculture co-ordinator Taliki Tairi believes to create a generation of growers for the future, it starts in the school and exposing children to planting and continuing to assist until they finish school.
By having the nursery near the school it allows for opportunities for upskilling the youth in the field of agriculture.
When students participate in agriculture they gain self-confidence and a sense of “capability” along with new skills and knowledge in food growing.
“Sustainability of the nurseries/hydroponics are key for the success of the PEARL Project,” Tiari said.
“The Island Nurseries and Hydroponics will assist in supporting the island agriculture and communities in enabling them to grow more fresh vegetables, fruits and root crops.”
Project manager Melina Tuiravakai said it is essential to unlock the potential of the agriculture sector in the Pa Enua and ensuring increased food security resilience and preparedness for disasters.
The Covid-19 pandemic is likely to exacerbate existing food crises and drive worsening food security, she said.
Food and clean drinking water insecurities in households is an important problem and the PEARL project will endeavour to help to assist and prepare for the possibility of increasing food and nutrition insecurity in the Cook Islands.
"Under the PEARL Project the goal is to support our implementing lead agency, Ministry of Agriculture in its key deliverables, support Island Government Agriculture nurseries/hydroponic, crops with social/cultural significance, increase food security with variety of fresh vegetables/fruits, improved trees for coastal protection and garden system for low nutrient soils,” Tuiravakai said.