Cook Islands

Agriculture in the Cook Islands, a group of 15 islands located in the South Pacific Ocean, plays a significant role in the local economy and food production. While agriculture in the Cook Islands is not as prominent as other economic sectors like tourism and fishing, it remains crucial for subsistence, livelihoods, and maintaining the islands’ self-sufficiency.

Some potential agricultural export opportunities exist in noni products, fish and seafood, taro, papayas, and bananas.

PHAMA Plus works with businesses and the public sector to maintain and improve trade of agricultural products by assisting them to meet export market requirements. PHAMA Plus also assists with market research and market development activities in support of export products. To maximise impact, the program works with key actors in the market system to generate benefit among farming households.

In 2021, the Government of the Cook Islands partnered with PHAMA Plus for technical support under the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER Plus) to enhance agricultural trade and promote sustainable economic development. Cook Islands became the eighth country to ratify the PACER Plus Agreement in 2020.

Since then, PHAMA Plus program has been working in Cook Islands to promote, improve and facilitate access to regional and global trade in primary and value-added products from the Cook Islands, which will contribute to building economic stability and recovery from COVID-19.

Regional trade facilitation and diversification

 In 2022, PHAMA Plus supported the formation of the Cook Islands Agricultural Advisory Group (CIAAG) to consider market access priorities and trade in agricultural primary and value- added products. The CIAAG serves as a public-private forum for issues facing the country’s agriculture sector.Read More

Capacity building for trade facilitation

Delivery of awareness training on border inspection and clearance procedures for biosecurity officials and the private sector as part of strengthening existing capacity. Preparation of technical market access report for the export of habanero chillies to NZ in progress. Read More

Biosecurity awareness and response

Training provided in preparedness for emergency response to pest and disease outbreaks that are currently affecting the region e.g., African Swine Fever (ASF) and Coconut Rhinoceros Beetle (CRB). Training extended to Aitutaki Islands on ASF, to be followed by CRB trainings in Pukapuka and Penrhyn islands.Read More

Quality standards and certification

Awareness workshops on food safety standards and accreditation conducted for processors, food vendors, exporters. Businesses interested in certification have been identified. Scoping assessment on organic certification needs and feasibility completed.   Read More

Sea container hygiene system 

Needs analysis conducted on sea container cleanliness with the aim of strengthening processes for the movement of containers within the region. Workshop on SCHS to be held in April for Rarotonga and Aitutaki ports. Export market and product diversification, including value-added opportunitiesRead More

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