12 Apr 2005

Orange seedlings due this month in Cook Islands

10:22 am on 12 April 2005

A shipment of citrus seedlings is due to arrive from New Zealand before the end of April.

The shipment, which has been ordered by the Ministry of Agriculture, contains 800 seedlings which include two orange varieties, Summer Navel orange and Valencia Harwood Late, as well as Star grapefruit.

Agriculture secretary Nga Mataio says the purpose of this year's shipment is to replace those that may have been damaged by February's cyclones and for those who missed out on last year's shipment.

Last year 2000 seedlings, comprised of four varieties of oranges and seven types of mandarins, were brought into the Cook Islands.

Mataio says around 75 per cent of last year's were sold to individuals while the remainder have gone to those who planted the seedlings for commercial purposes.

The citrus seedlings were distributed to Atiu, Mangaia and Aitutaki as well as here on Rarotonga.

This year's citrus seedling distribution will also include Mauke and Mitiaro.

However Mauke has ordered 150 seedlings of a local variety of orange which were airfreighted to the island this week.