Agriculture faces huge obstacles

Tuesday December 12, 2017 Published in Letters to the Editor
Mangaia has been promoted as a possible “fruit bowl” for the Cook Islands, but many obstacles face the development of agriculture in this country, a letter-writer says. 17121129 Mangaia has been promoted as a possible “fruit bowl” for the Cook Islands, but many obstacles face the development of agriculture in this country, a letter-writer says. 17121129

I read with interest a few days ago Tina Browne's article criticising the Government's development of the agriculture industry.

 

I like Tina as a person and we have socialised many times over the years. I think she has value to add to the country.

However, we all know that agriculture is not a CIP problem or a Demo problem it is a systemic problem. We can reminisce all we want about the good old days when agriculture exports were a big part of this economy but the production, distribution, marketing, etc. for international exports has completely changed.

Exporting faces huge obstacles such as land tenure/access, cost of land, cost of labour (other parts of the world agriculture labour earn $1.00 a day; try and compete with that!), transportation costs, economies of scale, costs of machinery, etc. etc.

Clearly, we can improve and the onus is on the current government to develop plans and initiatives. There has been some agriculture improvement as there is no question there are more fruits and vegetables available locally than there was five years ago or beforehand. It seems the logical approach is to take care of our local market first before launching into grandiose export schemes. The Demos were in Government for many years not long ago and agriculture did not improve during their time because they faced the same systemic obstacles as the CIP Government currently does.

It is easy to criticise when you are on the outside but it's a different and difficult ballgame once you are inside. A few months ago my friend Wilkie Rasmussen criticised the current government for not acting on an immigration review done many years ago and then when on to state that he read the same review and put it aside and did nothing while he was the Minister.

Rest assured I do criticise policies of the current CIP government when warranted.

            Te aroa te atua

            Teanaroa Worthington

Leave a comment