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Local egg producer closing down cool room

Saturday 9 July 2022 | Written by Matthew Littlewood | Published in Local, National

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Local egg producer closing down cool room
Photograph: Anthony Lee/Getty Images/OJO Images RF

John Scott of Scotts Farm, Muri has announced that it is closing the cool room in Avatiu, blaming changing markets and government policy for its demise.

Scott said the original purpose of the cool room, launched on Christmas 2009, was to combat the onslaught of imported eggs and provide a town outlet for its local production when existing outlets were closed to it.

“With the encouragement and support of both Cook Islands Party and Cook Islands Democratic governments in the 1980s Scotts Farm was, by 1985, supplying 85 per cent of the market. 

“The pork industry, with similar support, was also flourishing,” Scott said.

However, Scott said that changes to government policy since have drastically reduced both activities to a level which requires imports to satisfy demand.

“Influence, the removal of price control, larger profits on imports, pressure not to enact a Commerce Bill are just some of the contributors to this sorry state of affairs,” Scott said.

He said Scotts Farm egg production was now at a level which means if they were to continue to supply the cool room, they would be denying their few remaining loyal wholesale customers.

“As eggs were the reason for the cool room in the first place without eggs it was pointless remaining open,” Scott said.

“Apart from eggs, pig and poultry feed which are sold from the cool room, will continue to be available but sold from containers either from Ruatonga or Muri, or both.”

Scott said although there would always be room for the small operator, “it would be madness to invest heavily in the poultry and pork industries, as we have done, without official commitments that can be relied upon”.

The last trading day from the cool room will be July 30, but Scott is looking for a purchaser of the cool room.