14 Jan 2006

Pearl industry exports up 84 per cent in the Cook Islands

12:53 pm on 14 January 2006

A report in the Cook Islands says exports of pearls increased by 84 per cent in the last year.

The Cook Islands Herald says government figures show exports were worth two million US dollars last year, up from one POINT one million US dollars the year before.

The newspaper suggests this points to a recovery in earnings after the industry was hit by an outbreak of algae in 2001.

Also reported is a modest improvement in global prices largely dictated by the French Polynesian market.

The industry is projected to grow by 20 per cent this year.

Small farmers have left the industry and a number have gone overseas temporarily to find work and earn money.

Larger farmers have remained and their operations have stabilised.