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Pearl farmers approve plan to boost industry

Wednesday 1 April 2009 | Published in Local

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Thursday 26: Manihiki pearl farmers have given the much needed go-ahead to an overall strategic plan designed to kick-start the industry and get it earning more than it was at its peak in the mid-1990s.

Put together by the Cook Islands Pearl Authority (CIPA), the plan was launched on Tuesday night by CIPA chief executive officer George Ellis on Manihiki.

“The response of the farmers to the management plan, the marketing strategies, the future direction that the industry will take was very, very positive,” says deputy prime minister Sir Terepai Maoate who led the CIPA delegation to the island.

Sir Terepai, who is minister responsible for CIPA, says he’s delighted with the reaction of pearl farmers.

“We’ve gone over the details of the strategic plan today and farmers are very pleased with the initiatives that they will be part of.”

“We’ve also ironed out how the $200,000 set aside by government for the pearl industry should be best utilised, and naturally farmers are very pleased they’ve had input into this decision making. To me, it was very important that they should have the opportunity to decide the best way to use this money that would reap the most widespread benefits for them,” says Sir Terepai.

“It looks like we’ll be coming back with some excellent results regarding our pearl industry and its rebuilding, which makes this trip even more worthwhile.”

The outstanding land issues affecting Manihiki airport will also be addressed tomorrow by the minister. The upgrading of Manihiki airstrip to enable larger aircraft to land has been hindered by land issues.

Sir Terepai and his delegation were scheduled to travel to Tauhunu last night for another public meeting about the pearl industry. - DPM Office