25 May 2009

Cook Islands government looks to boost New Zealand paw paw exports

6:22 am on 25 May 2009

The Cook Islands government is hoping to resume paw paw exports to New Zealand by offering an incentive to growers.

The Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture says exports of the fruit peaked in the 1980s and early 1990s, with New Zealand sales generating about three and a half million dollars a year.

Nga Mataio says the Cook Islands have not been sending paw paw to New Zealand for the past year because not enough was being grown to warrant the treatment process needed for export.

Mr Mataio says while the government doesn't expect production to reach former highs, an offer to growers of a fertiliser subsidy has already been over-subscribed.

"As of last week we sold about 6,000 seeds which will be ready by the end of June next month or early July and that 6,000 will cover about 10 to 12 acres and once they start coming into production about early next year the the target is for about 400/500 cartons a week to start with"