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Targeted programme vital for agriculture

Tuesday June 05, 2018 Written by Published in Politics

In the lead-up to the June 14 election, CINews is asking the main political parties to comment on issues of interest to the public. Today’s question: The Ministry for Agriculture says the Cook Islands cannot produce even 20 per cent of the country’s domestic needs for fresh produce. What would your party do to stimulate agriculture and lessen the country’s reliance on overseas imports?

 

It will be important to stage targets in a country-wide programme to increase agriculture (fruit and vegetable) production for both the local and visitor market.

Comparative advantage studies completed for Rarotonga and the Pa Enua map out the crops and produce each island should focus on. All Pa Enua have high levels of participation in some form of agriculture production or harvesting of local food (fish, local fruit or vegetables), mainly for consumption.

Rarotonga, however, influences national data and figures on agriculture production. Figures confirm that over 60 per cent of homes on Rarotonga do not grow and produce for consumption or commerce, reflecting the demographic structure of Rarotonga society today, and confirming the urban and foreign investment drift.

The country’s reliance on imports is a constant in line with visitor preferences.

Our party’s aim is to ensure that where our growers throughout the country have a comparative advantage in agriculture produce that supports food security and improves revenue streams for our people, that these crops and programmes are resourced adequately (equipment, technical advice and finance).

Note: No replies had been received from the Democratic Party and One Cook Islands by the time today’s CINews went to print. Their answers to today’s question will be published later this week.